World-class oceans laboratory raising Nova Scotia’s global profile

Dr. Doug Wallace at Dalhousie’s Aquatron, a world-class marine and aquatics research facility. Unrivaled in North America, the facility, a marine and freshwater laboratory is a centerpiece of Dalhousie’s marine and aquatic research endeavors. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

Dr. Doug Wallace at Dalhousie’s Aquatron, a world-class marine and aquatics research facility. Unrivaled in North America, the facility, a marine and freshwater laboratory is a centerpiece of Dalhousie’s marine and aquatic research endeavors. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

“Anybody who looks at the ocean knows that it changes from day to day. You can tell by the weather, waves, seaweed on the beach but deeper in the ocean, where the longer-term, chemical and biological changes are happening, they are harder to notice,” explains Dr. Doug Wallace, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology at Dalhousie University.

He and his team of 20 are working to uncover what exactly is happening deep in our oceans in their world-class laboratory in the Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building. Through Nova Scotia Research Innovation Trust (NSRIT) and Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) combined funding of nearly $1.6 million in 2013, Dr. Wallace was able to purchase state-of-the-art chemical measurement systems for observing and detecting changes in the ocean’s chemistry.

This equipment has broadened the team’s research scope, and Dr. Wallace says the funding support is an “incredible catalyst for a range of projects.” One such project is VITALS (Ventilation of the Ocean Interior and Transport Across the Labrador Sea) a collaborative project with the Bedford Institute of Oceanography that includes 24 investigators from 11 institutions in Canada, the United States and Germany and which will utilise innovative ocean sensing and measurement technologies that are made in Nova Scotia. Another is the Transatlantic Ocean System Science and Technology Graduate School (TOSST), a joint, transatlantic graduate school linking two major centres of ocean research: Maritime Canada and northern Germany. TOSST recently organised a joint training course for the PhD candidates from the two centres, which included visits and training sessions with a number of Nova Scotia’s world class, ocean-related industries.

In addition to helping raise Nova Scotia’s profile in global oceans research, Dr. Wallace’s lab also helps Dalhousie attract and retain some of the brightest students in the field, giving them access to leading-edge equipment, techniques and technology.

Dr. Doug Wallace kneels along the shore of the Northwest Arm, Halifax.  A short walk from Dalhousie’s Ocean Sciences Building where he and his team, CERC.OCEAN, are aiming to develop new approaches to observe the changing ocean and study ocean processes. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

Dr. Doug Wallace kneels along the shore of the Northwest Arm, Halifax. A short walk from Dalhousie’s Ocean Sciences Building where he and his team, CERC.OCEAN, are aiming to develop new approaches to observe the changing ocean and study ocean processes. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

Dr. Doug Wallace stands in front of the Alkor, a German research vessel, and awaits his tour during the Alkor’s visit to Halifax. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

Dr. Doug Wallace stands in front of the Alkor, a German research vessel, and awaits his tour during the Alkor’s visit to Halifax. (Photo Credits: Dalhousie University)

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