Long-Term International Collaboration

December 8, 2022

The National Science Foundation Ocean Observatories Initiative’s Regional Cabled Array (NSF-OOI RCA) is an underwater cabled observatory that extends 480 km off the coast of Newport, Oregon, USA and is run by the University of Washington’s (UW) School of Oceanography and Applied Physics Laboratory. The Regional Cabled Array streams real-time data to scientists on the geological, oceanographic and biological processes spanning the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, including those contributing to the productive coastal systems and underwater volcanism off the coast of Oregon. Servicing of the array is achieved through NSF’s VISIONS expeditions, which provide a venue for UW student experiential learning and scientific outreach initiatives.

The Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (CSSF) has been in collaboration with the NSF-OOI Regional Cabled Array for 5 maintenance and installation expeditions — VISIONS ‘11, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15 and ’22 — since the RCA’s first servicing in 2011. We are able to achieve this relationship thanks to the cooperation, expertise and hard work of our highly-capable ROPOS Team, as well as our uniquely-designed Remotely-Operated Cable Laying System (ROCLS), which allows ROPOS to switch between the tasks of servicing instrumentation and cable laying while remaining submerged.

“It really takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and teamwork to pull off an expedition of this length and complexity. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work again with our Canadian colleagues. It was an excellent international collaboration to help maintain and expand the capabilities of the RCA. […] Because of the complex nature of the undersea work required to keep the RCA operational, few facilities are trained and equipped to execute such operations.”

— Debbie Kelley, Principal Investigator, UW School of Oceanography

“Our ROPOS team really enjoys working with the team from the University of Washington, School of Oceanography and Applied Physics Laboratory […] They are a professional, well-organized, efficient, friendly, and mutually respectful group, which makes these long missions at sea productive, efficient, and successful […] it was a real pleasure working along with UW undergraduates onboard […, who] brought a curiosity, enthusiasm, and energy that were always welcome during the long hours in the dive control van.”

— Keith Shepherd, General Manager, Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility

CSSF’s successful long-term international collaboration with NSF-OOI’s Regional Cabled Array was recently celebrated in an article on the NSF-OOI website. Working with this group is a pleasure and we look forward to continuing working with them on many VISIONS expeditions into the future!

Photo credits: UW Center for Environmental Visualization (above) and S. Martynenko, University of Washington (below).