Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

September 29, 2010 13:00 ET

MUN Taking First Steps to Study Deep-sea and Cold-Ocean Animals

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 29, 2010) - Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in St. John's is soon to become one of the few places in the world where deep-sea, cold-loving creatures can be kept alive for long-term studies.

Within weeks, researchers are planning to have a 56 cm diameter hole drilled horizontally, through 500 metres of solid rock to a deep-water location in the Atlantic Ocean.

They will pump frigid water from the hole into pressurized holding tanks at the surface to facilitate the study of cold-ocean creatures, creating a novel research lab not currently found in Canada. Because of the reliable supply of naturally cold water, this facility will let scientists at MUN's Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) research everything from unusual green crabs to bacteria that can harm aquaculture.

"This research development is timely given the growing recognition of the critical importance of the world's oceans and its biodiversity as well as concerns over climate change," says OSC scientist Ian Fleming.

The OSC is a unique, internationally recognized facility that offers scientists at Memorial and other Canadian and international institutions the capability to study cold-ocean creatures and processes from high latitudes, such as the North Atlantic, Arctic and deep sea — a feat not possible anywhere else.

This world-class, deep-water research facility, a $16 million project, is funded in part by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Research & Development Corporation and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The project is set to be completed in 2012.

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The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.3 billion in support of 6,800 projects at 130 research institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

Contact Information

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
    Dr. Ian Fleming
    Professor - Ocean Sciences Centre
    709-864-3586
    ifleming@mun.ca
    or
    Memorial University of Newfoundland
    Media relations
    Meaghan Whelan
    Communications coordinator (Research)
    709-864-4073 or 687-9243
    mcwhelan@mun.ca