Conference Paper

The NEPTUNE Project - a cabled ocean observatory in the NE Pacific: Overview, challenges and scientific objectives for the installation and operation of Stage I in Canadian waters

Victoria Univ., Victoria
DOI: 10.1109/UT.2007.370809 Conference: Underwater Technology and Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables and Related Technologies, 2007. Symposium on
Source: IEEE Xplore


NEPTUNE (North-East Pacific Undersea Networked Experiments) will be an innovative network of many sub-sea observatories linked by about 3,000 km of powered, electro-optic cable covering most of the Juan de Fuca Plate (200,000 sq km), North-East Pacific, with shore stations at Port Alberni, BC and probably Nedonna Beach, OR (,, Each observatory will host and power many scientific instruments on the surrounding seafloor, in boreholes in the seafloor, and buoyed into the water column. Remotely operated and autonomous vehicles will reside at depth, powered or recharged at observatories and directed from distant labs. Continuous near-real-time multidisciplinary measurement series will extend over 25 years. Major research themes include: structure and seismic behavior of the ocean crust; dynamics of hot and cold fluids and gas hydrates in the upper ocean crust and overlying sediments; ocean/climate change and effects on ocean biota/fisheries at all depths; deep-sea sedimentation, ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity; and engineering and computational systems research. These involve interacting processes, long-term changes, and chaotic, episodic events difficult to study and quantify by traditional means.

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Available from: Christopher R Barnes, Aug 03, 2014
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    • "To that end, the literature contains references to various measurement platforms which support solutions ranging from instruments integrated in on-the-spot observation systems to remote equipment, each one with a specific purpose. The observation platform may be on the surface, on board an oceanographic vessel [2,3]; it may consist of surface buoys [4,5], drifting buoys [6,7] or towed vehicles [8,9]; or it may be located on the sea bed using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) [10,11], Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) [12,13], gliders [14] or networks of underwater buoys [15], or again it may be located in space (satellites) [16]. The choice of measurement platform will be dictated mainly by the need to obtain information from an area of a given size, which implies a given density of instruments per unit of surface area, with a time frequency suited to the dynamics of the measurable parameters (temporal resolution). "
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    ABSTRACT: Monitoring of marine ecosystems is essential to identify the parameters that determine their condition. The data derived from the sensors used to monitor them are a fundamental source for the development of mathematical models with which to predict the behaviour of conditions of the water, the sea bed and the living creatures inhabiting it. This paper is intended to explain and illustrate a design and implementation for a new multisensor monitoring buoy system. The system design is based on a number of fundamental requirements that set it apart from other recent proposals: low cost of implementation, the possibility of application in coastal shallow-water marine environments, suitable dimensions for deployment and stability of the sensor system in a shifting environment like the sea bed, and total autonomy of power supply and data recording. The buoy system has successfully performed remote monitoring of temperature and marine pressure (SBE 39 sensor), temperature (MCP9700 sensor) and atmospheric pressure (YOUNG 61302L sensor). The above requirements have been satisfactorily validated by operational trials in a marine environment. The proposed buoy sensor system thus seems to offer a broad range of applications.
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    • "For example, the first observation of spawning by the giant tubeworm Riftia pachyptila happened by a chance sighting, despite hundreds of dives that have visited this environment (Van Dover 1994). Cabled observatories are planned and will provide a powerful means of allowing a continuous presence for instrumentation and observation in the deep sea (see the Neptune Canada project; Barnes et al. 2007). One disadvantage is the overall cost, and the limitation that deployments are generally fixed at one area for long periods, until the instrumentation can be moved by submersible. "
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term observations of faunal communities are essential to identify biological and ecological key phenomena. Observational studies of deep sea habitats such as hydrothermal vents, however, have been restricted by technological limitations. Here we describe our recently developed instrument SMOKE (Submersible Macrophotography Observation Kamera Equipment) that was used for time-lapse macrophotography synchronized with temperature readings for up to 28 h at 2200 m depth. Lighting was provided by a novel low-cost white LED array powered by AA or AAA batteries embedded in epoxy within an aluminum case. SMOKE was successfully deployed at the Juan de Fuca ridge in the Northeast Pacific and delivered fine-resolution pictures as well as centimeter-scale temperature readings in diffuse vent flow habitats of small motile invertebrates. We found high spatial temperature changes within faunal assemblages and could identify and track specimens down to a size of 2 mm. SMOKE is also characterized by low fabrication and maintenance costs and a straight-forward, reliable design. Overall, this device proved to be a valuable tool for macrofaunal observations linked with temperature changes over extended time periods.
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