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Canada became a member of the Ocean Drilling Program in 1985, giving Canadian scientists the chance to participate directly in an international research venture and access core samples and research results of truly global significance. Becoming one of the first five partners in the program was a result of considerable effort by several members of the Canadian earth science community, including the late William Hutchinson and the late Michael J. Keen. Working with the Geological Survey of Canada sector, together with the National Science and Engineering Research Council and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, they established a funding base for national participation.

However, despite significant Canadian participation in planning, as well as shipboard and shore-based research, the federal government has found it difficult to provide a funding level sufficient to maintain Canada's participation as an independent member. This, in part, resulted in the 1988 formation of a consortium with Australia, in which the two partners have since worked closely and successfully. Although Canada is a geographically large maritime nation, its scientific base is relatively small and widely scattered. Nevertheless, since 1985, more than 84 Canadian scientists and technicians have been involved in the Ocean Drilling Program. Some have developed drilling proposals of national and international interest, including those resulting in Leg 105 to the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay, and Leg 139 to the Middle Valley area of the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

In Canada, ODP has a two-tiered administrative structure: The Canadian Scientific Committee (CSC) oversees the program's scientific aspects, and comprises scientists acting as consortium representatives on JOIDES panels; the Canadian Council implements the overall policy that governs ODP in Canada, and looks after the administrative and financial aspects of Canadian participation in the program. The Canadian Secretariat coordinates the program in Canada and acts as the day-to-day CSC operating arm. CSC and Canadian Council members are selected from the industry, government, and university communities, providing the best possible cross section of the geoscientific community.

The program has had a significant impact on Canadian marine geosciences, with a number of national successes. There have also been a wide variety of spinoffs; for example, drilling the Juan de Fuca Ridge required successful implementation of the first major marine environmental impact study, which was undertaken by the Geological Survey of Canada. The scientific community, having gained access to some of the most inaccessible areas on the globe, as well as more parochial targets, has undoubtedly benefited from consortium membership. While we acknowledge that there will be a continuing struggle to ensure that Canadian marine geoscientists can fully participate in this global program, we look forward to a second ten years as ODP members.

When not on an airplane to the sunny climates of Cyprus, New Zealand, or Australia (anywhere away from the foggy Rock!), John Malpas is the Director of the Canadian Secretariat for the Ocean Drilling Program and Chairman of the Canadian Council. He is also the Dean of Graduate Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Malpas has been involved with the Ocean Drilling Program from its infancy, and with the program's predecessor, DSDP. His research focuses on ophiolites and the origin of oceanic crust.
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Title Annotation:25 Years of Ocean Drilling; Ocean Drilling Program report
Author:Malpas, John
Date:Dec 22, 1993
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Next Article:European Science Foundation.

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