Deep Sea Internet Coming To an Ocean Near You

The four oceans on the planet Earth are quite an interesting piece of science to investigate. One thing that I have always wondered was what actually happens down there. Yes, we have access to underwater films made into IMAX movies, and that shows us fish and other stuff like that. But if there’s a chance to actually get live updates of what the ocean is saying about itself—describing its chemistry, how healthy it is for fish to live in one specific spot, etc.—I definitely want to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Lucky for me, there is!

Courtesy of Discover Magazine and the University of Washington

According to Discover magazine, scientists in the Pacific Northwest are working on a fiber-optic, cable system (similar to how most Americans receive television and internet signals) which will eventually spread from Puget Sound in Washington State to the southern tip of South America and beyond. John Delaney said that this “deep sea internet” will have millions of sensors in all four oceans and then gather information over decades to give international scientists the resources they need. This important information like where and when earthquakes are occurring could give scientists and politicians important information to help humankind try to prevent tragedy (i.e. the Japan earthquake and tsunami).

Delaney also said that the new Ocean Observatories Initiative technology will answer a lot of brewing for scientists and ocean lovers across the globe. The proposed sensors on several schools of fish will help determine migration patterns for the aquatic animals as well as how the fish keep eyes on predators and their prey. This underwater network will also use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) which have cameras that will scan the ocean floor to learn what kind of rocks are on it and to see if there is any undiscovered sea life worth exploring. Delaney said that this project is just the start of some advanced underwater research in the coming years. “We’re pushing the envelope with this project,” he says, “but we’ll be a test bed for future observatories around the world.”

This new underwater research is going to spark a whole, new outlook into what happens under the sea. However, I think it’ll be interesting to see what is discovered and see how those new findings are applied here on the land. We’ll just have to wait and sea, won’t we?

by Scott Sincoff

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