An underwater monitor station has been installed on the Canadian Arctic sea floor, near Cambridge Bay in Nunavut. It allows for live views of the sea bed. Installation was in the hands of Ocean Networks Canada, based at the University of Victoria.
Dr. Kim Juniper said the observatory is already generating interest among scientists who want to use the site for their own work.
"Essentially using what we've put in there as a basis to provide some background for some other research," he said.
Juniper said it's a preview to the kind of work expected at the High Arctic Research Station, which is expected to open in 2017.
So far, the mini-observatory has caught shrimp and fish on camera, and has recorded ice thickening at the rate of one centimetre a day.
Beth Sampson, a science teacher at Kiilnik High School in Cambridge Bay, said it's the kind of real-life science that appeals to her as a teacher.
"It also has a video camera on it, so it's live-streaming data, and you'll be able to see things that live in the water that might be swimming past or crawling past on the ocean floor. So it's exciting to be able to see a side of the ocean that we don't see from the surface."
Sampson's Grade 11 biology students got the see the apparatus before it went under water. She is now working on a plan to use the data in science projects next school term.
The underwater observatory is a scaled-down version of similar observatories in seafloor networks off the coast of Vancouver Island.