Doing What’s Best for the Ocean

May 10, 2017

When you think about noise, what comes to mind? The chatter of a crowded shopping mall? A busy street during rush hour traffic? Many things can create noise in our daily lives. However, have you considered noise underwater? The implications of this type of noise is not the same as others we may experience day to day – underwater noise is a type of pollution, and it is something that JASCO Applied Sciences works to mitigate. 

Headquartered in Dartmouth, JASCO is a world leader in the science of underwater sound and its effects on marine life. “Underwater noise is a unique pollution, but it is still pollution and there is increasing concern about its potential impacts on marine fauna. Some companies worry about smoke stacks or oil spills, comparatively we are worried about a very specific type of pollution,” says John Moloney, who is in charge of Engineering Management and Business Development at JASCO.

            JASCO - Deployment-In-Ice

Since its origin, JASCO has been developing and implementing acoustic technologies ranging from advanced acoustic recorder design, to complex acoustic modelling algorithms, to comprehensive field monitoring and data analysis. 

“We are trying to do what’s best for the ocean. We work to protect marine mammals from the potential impacts of underwater noise,” says John. “Mitigating underwater noise involves making decisions about when you make noise, whether you make noise and what type of noise it is, to try to minimize the impact on fauna,” says John. 

In June 2016, JASCO was one of six Canadian companies that received funding from the Canadian Space Agency’s Earth Observation Applications Development Program to address a challenge associated with maritime traffic in Canadian waters. Through this funding, JASCO will use space data on maritime traffic to model and minimize the effects of vessel noise on marine life. 

JASCO - Deployment

“JASCO is well respected globally for the quality of its science related to ocean acoustics. The company’s staff are continuously publishing scientific papers and presenting at conferences. The quality of our science is very important to us.” 

JASCO was founded in Victoria, B.C. in 1981 to work closely with the Department of National Defence’s Research Labs. In 2003, one of JASCO’s co-owners moved from Victoria to Wolfville and opened a new Nova Scotia office. The company’s headquarters transitioned from British Columbia to Nova Scotia in 2014. 

“There’s a strong acoustics background here, spawned from local military research and very good and broad engineering and science capabilities across the province, along with academic institutions and government labs,” says John. Although based in Nova Scotia, JASCO conducts work globally. Within the last eight years, the company has expanded internationally, opening companies in the USA, Australia, and the UK.

Ocean education is integral to JASCO’s operations. John says that the company promotes and supports ocean education whenever it can – hiring interns from the Nova Scotia Community College or Dalhousie University is just one way they do this. “We do public outreach around experiential learning. Our staff have gone to post-secondary schools and given talks and lectures. We support the Discovery Centre and send researchers around the world for networking and presentations. In each of our offices around the world, we reach out to the local academic institutions. We present and publish papers that students as well as other researchers can use.”

JASCO has been hiring students in experiential learning positions for the past 10 years. “Typically, we hire three to four students in a year. We’ve had mechanical engineers, computer engineers, IT and software professionals, biologists and oceanographers. We seek out students to fulfill certain roles or take on specific projects, but once in a while we create a position for a really good resume.” Most of these students have been ocean education students, and two of them have been hired on with JASCO full-time: a mechanical engineer, and Carmen Lawrence, a field scientist. CLICK HERE to read more about Carmen’s experience with experiential learning. 


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