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Quebec Bulletin
February-March 2017/Volume 20/Number 1

Increased Marine Environmental Monitoring Capability with the Purchase of Four Scientific Buoys

A man kneeling, performs maintenance on a scientific buoy
DFO  R. Pigeon
A man kneeling, performs maintenance on a scientific buoy

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is increasing its marine environmental monitoring capability with the acquisition of four new automated oceanographic buoys. In addition to measuring a multitude of meteorological and oceanographic parameters at the water surface, these buoys will independently collect temperature and salinity profiles to a depth of 200 m without human intervention, and transmit the data in real time.

The new buoys are part of the Department's Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program's sampling strategy, which, since 1998, has been assessing the oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Scotian Shelf, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf. The program aims to better understand, describe and predict the state of the marine ecosystem, as well as to quantify the changes observed in the physical, chemical and biological properties of the ocean, whether they be seasonal, yearly, or over longer periods. In fact, the buoys are floating laboratories that operate 24 hours a day. They will be invaluable to the scientific community for studying climate change and monitoring the state of the ocean.

Buoys being assembled
DFO  R. Pigeon
Buoys being assembled

The first buoys acquired will be deployed at the monitoring program's high-frequency sampling stations. The automatic profiles will be used to quantify the rapid temperature and salinity changes that can occur (due to tides, for example) and to put into context the biological samples from scientists on board lower frequency vessels. Mariners will also appreciate having offshore wind and wave conditions in real time using the different data available online.

Note that the automated oceanographic buoy system was designed and developed by a scientific team from the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, in partnership with Multi-Électronique. The Rimouski firm was awarded a $1.65 million contract to design and develop the four buoys. This initiative echoes the Government of Canada's commitment to make science the cornerstone of its public policy.

Roger Pigeon and Peter Galbraith
Science

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