Real time data from the ocean interior gives fundamental new insights into marine processes such as behavioural dynamics of organisms and variation in physical and chemical properties. Such information also enhances understanding of the relationships between physical drivers and biological response, a prerequisite for models that aim at reflecting the true dynamics in marine ecosystems.
The Lofoten Vesterålen Cabled Observatory (LoVe) uses subsea-based commercial technology to connect users and the public directly to the underwater reality. Observe events as they happen at https://loveocean.no/. A transect of sensor platforms crosses the continental shelf and simultaneously the dominant currents and fish migration routes. This gives the users access to water flow dynamics as well as fish migration dynamics; essential information to understand ecosystems. Here we can quantify migration of skrei (spawning cod) to and from the Lofoten spawning grounds and link this to dynamics in water flux, temperature and salinity. What drives plankton blooms and how do drivers impact fish recruitment? Regular pictures gives you access to daily events at a coral reef or other bottom habitat enabling you to watch dynamics of polyps as well as the megafauna, including fish utilizing and thriving in this spectacular habitat.
LoVe originates from the Norwegian Ocean Observatory Network (NOON) and spurred by a Statoil/IMR initiative for a first node, financed by Statoil and deployed in Vesterålen in 2013. LoVe is a cabled infrastructure in an ecological, geological, oceanographic and economic hotspot that supports basic scientific research as well as responds to pressing societal and commercial challenges. The project aims at preparing the ground for a next generation infrastructure of a permanent interactive presence in the ocean, supporting sustainable monitoring and management of the marine environment. This includes understanding of ecosystems, marine resources, bio-geological and chemical processes, with emphasize on impact of global climate change. LoVe will also contribute to development of early warning systems for geo-hazards and will be a test bed for new technologies.
The technology is based on Norwegian subsea expertise developed for the petroleum industry, secured by the industry partnership (NCE Subsea and Statoil ASA). LoVe has further 8 scientific partners covering within geology, chemistry, ecology, fisheries, oceanography, modeling and technology. In 2014 the Norwegian Fishermen's Association expanded the consortium, which is expected to become a melting pot of competence and generator of novel ideas due to the broadness and complementarity of the expertise. The infrastructure and data will be available to the research community, secured by cooperation with another established infrastructure project (NMDC).
LoVe will support data and model prediction of the High North's physical, chemical, geological and biological environment including its fisheries resources and thus satisfy societal and political requirements set for the governance of marine assets of the High North. LoVe will serve as an example for development of Norway's next generation monitoring system. A strong international science and technology network will secure long term efficient development of LoVe.