The Ocean Tracking Network 2022 annual report

A message from the directors:

Since 2008, the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) has been creating a research, data management and infrastructure platform that tightly integrates biological, oceanographic and social sciences, promotes technological innovation and fosters collaborative partnerships across sectors and around the world.

As we look back on the past year, we can also excitedly look forward to the next six. In August of 2022, OTN was awarded a grant of $38.5 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives Fund, bringing the total amount awarded to OTN for its 2017-2029 funding cycle to $65.6 million. This continued investment will allow OTN to maintain and advance its operations and activities, while remaining agile and adaptable to emerging science priorities in Canada and internationally. 

OTN will also continue to help Canada meet its commitments to the United Nations (UN) Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). As part of this commitment, OTN is addressing three specific challenges identified by UNESCO: protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity; expanding the global ocean observing system for the delivery of actionable data and information; and improving equitable access to data and information across all aspects of ocean science. OTN’s contributions to the Ocean Decade will help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals that have formed the basis for Dalhousie University’s signature research clusters.   

At headquarters, OTN has scaled up on-campus operations with cautious optimism that COVID restrictions will remain eased. Most staff members are working to a hybrid schedulestriking a balance between safe distancing while creating space for the side-of-desk coffee chats that often lead to new ideas and solutions and are an intrinsic element of OTN’s collaborative culture. 

We also welcome Robert Lennox of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research as OTN’s incoming scientific director and tenure-track associate professor in Dalhousie’s biology department. Over the next year, Rob will work closely with the two of us as we transition the leadership of OTN into his capable hands. After 15 years at the helm, we look forward to moving into advisory roles to support Rob and the entire team as OTN continues to evolve.   

We hope this review of our 2022 updates finds our readers well, and we look forward to the next phase of OTN as staff and collaborators continue to drive aquatic telemetry forward in Canada and across the globe. 

Fred, Sara, and the OTN HQ staff