NEPTUNE is an acronym for North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments. The North-East Pacific is home to the Juan de Fuca plate—the smallest of Earth’s 12 tectonic plates. Its small size and proximity to the coast give NEPTUNE Canada a unique opportunity to observe tectonic processes.

The NEPTUNE Ocean Observatory project is part of Ocean Networks Canada which is a University of Victoria initiative. NEPTUNE is the world’s first regional-scale underwater ocean observatory that plugs directly into the Internet.

NEPTUNE Canada provides scientists with real-time data on a variety of oceanographic parameters, including temperature, salinity, currents, and marine life. This data is used to study a wide range of issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, and marine pollution.

NEPTUNE Canada was built to provide continuous observations for 25 years. The time-series data gathered will allow scientists to study long-term changes over the life of the project. Instruments comprising the undersea observatory will operate at depths ranging from 17 to 2,660 m. Hundreds of instruments have been connected to the Internet by way of shielded cables carrying both power and fiber-optic communication lines. A database will archive and provide networked access to all archived data. Taking advantage of this platform, scientists collaborating with NEPTUNE are expected to conduct thousands of unique experiments over the life of the project.

According to the Internet