If you were to stop by this rental unit in the western Nunavut town of Cambridge Bay, you might have to climb over a roll of ethernet tape and diving tanks to get into it.
This is where the team from Oceans Networks Canada stays — and after retrieving the ocean observatory usually anchored in the waters near the community dock, they’ve set about dismantling it.
That’s why you might find an underwater hydrophone and other equipment in the jacuzzi bath and another device needing repair spread out on the counter.
After the team, which includes young researchers with the University of Victoria, managed to hoist the 250-pound observatory platform out of the water, they’ve focused on getting the observatory back into working order.
They then plan to publicly relaunch the observatory into the water. That’s in addition to many other meetings and presentations to schools.
But why should people in Cambridge Bay, population 1,500, care about an underwater observatory they can only see for a short time every year?
Because they can benefit from the information it collects and be directly involved in the project, said Maia Hoeberechts, from Oceans Networks Canada, in Cambridge Bay.
Local residents can have direct access to the data, posted on line — and also on an iPad likely to be located in the local library, and through future collaborations with the team, she said.
At the community meeting in Cambridge Bay, Hoeberechtsand and the others will explain just what the observatory does and why it’s important.
As an example, there’s marine mammal monitoring— because the observatory’s sensitive mikes can pick up sounds from narwhal or beluga.
And students or “anyone with an interest and kills” can work with them and learn new skills, Hoeberechts said.
That could lead to more local residents embracing a career in the sciences or in resource and technology — not such a bad idea before the Canadian High Arctic Research Station opens here in 2017.
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