Underwater research advanced

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The appointment of a top scientist to the B.C. Leadership Chair in Marine Ecosystems and Global Change at the University of Victoria will take environmental research to new levels, Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell announced this week.

“With a researcher like Kim Juniper, a body of work will be developed in British Columbia that will not only increase our knowledge of our marine environment but our skills in managing it,” said Coell.

“We can justifiably be proud of how the government, through the Leading Edge Endowment Fund, is supporting leading edge research in the province.”

The $4.5-million chair, funded by a $2.25-million investment from the Province’s Leading Edge Endowment Fund, will use NEPTUNE and VENUS, two undersea ocean-monitoring observatories, led by the University of Victoria, designed to track the impact of climate and environmental changes.

The Province is contributing $38.5 million to NEPTUNE, the North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments, and $4 million to VENUS, the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea.

Juniper is an internationally recognized marine ecologist whose work brings together biology, geology and marine chemistry. He has already

helped establish major research programs, including NEPTUNE Canada, and developed cutting-edge laboratory methods.

“I’m very excited to be appointed as the B.C. Leadership Chair for Marine Ecosystems and Global Change and have the technology of VENUS and, very soon, NEPTUNE to help me conduct oceanographic research in a way that’s never been done before,” said Juniper.

“We will be able to better determine how climate is affecting our oceans, what aspects are human-induced, and what we can do to mitigate the harmful effects.”

The funding for the B.C. leadership chairs was established with an initial provincial commitment of $45 million for the Leading Edge Endowment Fund – $2.25 million for each of the 20 chairs. Matching funds are secured by post-secondary institutions from external partners to establish some of the best-funded research chairs in Canada.

“Dr. Juniper’s appointment builds on UVic’s profound strengths in oceans and climate change research, addressing some of the fundamental questions about the extent of humankind’s impact on our climate,” said University of Victoria president David Turpin.

“Thanks to the Leading Edge Endowment Fund, the generosity of private donors and the support of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dr. Juniper will have the resources to conduct his important research.”

Source: www.wltribune.com