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Canadian Ocean Science In The Spotlight At AAAS 2010

February 17, 2010

Canadian leadership in ocean sciences will be front and center at this week’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego.

On Friday, February 19, Dalhousie University’s Ron O’Dor will talk about the ambitious plans for the international Ocean Tracking Network (www.oceantrackingnetwork.org) to which Canada has committed $45 million, including up to $10 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The researcher pioneered the development of acoustic tags that collect data from free swimming animals and helped propel Canada’s Dalhousie University and Halifax into a world-class centre for the use of this technology.

He will explain how ocean science is being revolutionized by the devices (dubbed by some as “Blackberries for Fish”) and by strategically situated ocean networks that relay data from the animals to scientists. He will talk about some of the remarkable insights already gained from animals as diverse as tuna, salmon, turtles and squid.

O’Dor divides his time between Halifax and Washington, where he is the chief science officer of the Census of Marine Life (www.coml.org). His work has caught the attention of publications as diverse as The Economist and Canadian Geographic, which last year named him Environmental Scientist of the Year.

(Note: An advance AAAS media briefing for his session will be held on Thursday, February 18.)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting is the world’s largest gathering in which scientists and the public engage to discuss research findings and their societal implications. In February 2012, the meeting will be held in Vancouver, Canada.

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