Photo: Illustration/A subsea platform like this one will soon be connected to a cable to allow sea to shore data transfer in real time (Courtesy of FORCE)

FORCE to start real-time collection of subsea data in Bay of Fundy

The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) has set out plans to deploy a large cabled monitoring platform in the Minas Passage and share the collected data online as part of continuing efforts to improve environmental data from the Bay of Fundy.

Illustration/A subsea platform like this one will soon be connected to a cable to allow sea to shore data transfer in real time (Courtesy of FORCE)
Illustration/A subsea platform like this one will soon be connected to a cable to allow sea to shore data transfer in real time (Courtesy of FORCE)

FORCE’s subsea environmental observatory is a cabled platform that allows for power and two-way communication between the sea and the centre’s onshore facility, using hydrophones, ADCP, an optical camera, and subsea lights to bring real-time data ashore for a range of environmental monitoring purposes.

Future additions to the platform may include a pan-tilt unit and imaging sonar, according to FORCE.

The data collected during the deployment will be shared online with the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS).

The deployment is part of a larger research project called Vitality, supported by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, whose aim is to develop tools and linkages between and three emerging environmental technology and data-heavy sectors: aquaculture, tidal power, and offshore wind through partnerships

Led by Pisces Research Project Management, the project represents a wider industry collaboration to develop new, applicable data streams for Ocean Supercluster members, private sector companies, indigenous organizations, and anyone who participates in Canada’s blue economy.

Chuck Taylor, a field researcher at FORCE, said: “We’re putting down a platform on the sea floor and connecting it to a cable to that will give us real time data.

“We’re using hydrophones that listen for harbour porpoises sound in the water: calling, singing, chirping…’clicking’. With a cabled platform, the instruments will be powered all the time. We’ll be able to triangulate their sound to get a very accurate picture of their location, in real time, over longer periods. It’s just improves our overall marine mammal monitoring capacity.

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FORCE is Canada’s lead research facility for tidal stream technology, created to better understand how this technology can play a role in the country’s clean energy future and help respond to climate change impacts like ocean acidification, sea level rise, and coastal erosion.

“Normally, we would put ocean instruments out in the water remotely with no connection. We can’t be sure if they’re even collecting data, or be sure of the quality of the data, until we recover the instruments. And because they run on battery power, we can only leave them out for a limited time window. Adding a cable takes our ocean sensors to the next level.

“We’re also more efficient – which is a critical piece of any marine operation. Typically, the longest a battery powered platform is going to be out there is three months. We might be able to have the cabled platform out there for a year or more. That means one marine operations for 12 months of data – versus four marine deployments and recoveries for the same amount of data“, concluded Taylor.

To remind, FORCE recently welcomed the deployment of a multi-sensor platform. Developed by DP Energy, the platform will track environmental effects of in-stream tidal turbines in the Minas Passage.

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