About the Ocean Frontier Institute
The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) was established in September 2015 as a global leader for innovative ocean research.

Overview of OFI facilities

OFI has access to unique research infrastructure as well as the experts to optimize its use. From lab space to in-water and analytical infrastructure, OFI has the tools that allow scientists to think big and create extraordinary research results.


OFI collaborates with a broad network of scientific organizations which include:

  • The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) uses electronic tags to track more than 140 commercially-important and endangered species in 29 countries. OTN provides the expertise and technology to launch important components of the OFI’s research.
  • MERIDIAN (Marine Environmental Research Infrastructure for Data Integration and Application Network) is a consortium of highly-skilled, cross-functional teams that are developing a national data service that connects ocean information, focusing initially on ocean acoustics. MERIDIAN aims to provide a long-term data service to assist the Canadian ocean research community — from scientist to developer — in the use of advanced data science technologies.
  • Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR), a national Network of Centres of Excellence, connecting top marine researchers across Canada with highly-qualified personnel, partners and communities. MEOPAR aims to train the next generation of marine research professionals, fund leading-edge research, and connect research results to real-world solutions.
  • The Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) develops new conservation strategies for Canada’s changing ocean by partnering with Canadian university researchers and government scientists.

Noise in the ocean from shipping and other offshore industrial activity is becoming a significant issue due to its impact on protected marine species, especially great whales and other marine mammals who use sounds to communicate. MERIDIAN is a valuable tool for monitoring trends in the state of the ocean acoustic environment and will enable more timely, effective, and efficient protection of valued marine species and protected areas.

Learn more about MERIDIAN

Research & lab space

World-class scientists need top-notch facilities to do their work. The Ocean Frontier Institute has access to resources that ocean research requires:

Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

  • Steele Ocean Sciences Building: four-storey, 76,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research space. The building also provides office space and meeting rooms for OFI staff and others.
  • The Aquatron Laboratory: one of the largest university aquatic research facilities in Canada.
  • The Canada Excellence Research Chair Ocean Laboratory: develops new technologies to measure changes in the ocean.
  • The Marine Gene Probe Laboratory: dedicated to the application of molecular genetic methods including ecology, evolution, conservation, and resource biology.

Memorial University, St. John's, NL

  • The Fisheries and Marine Institute: home to the world’s largest Flume Tank. Combined with cutting edge analytical equipment, this tank is a unique laboratory setting for the testing of large, marine-based equipment. Learn more …
  • The Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building: designed to support aquaculture feeding trials and broodstock development.
  • The Cold-Ocean and Deep-Sea Research Facility: a biocontainment centre for aquaculture health research, including vaccine and clinical diet development.
  • Opened in 2021, the Core Science Facility is 42,000-square-meters of modern research space and a catalyst for collaboration and new discoveries.

University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI

  • Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) is globally recognized for its research work in aquatic animal health and epidemiology and plays a leading role in protecting the health and productivity of wild, and farmed, fisheries. Housed at AVC is an interconnected network of aquatic research centres and programs, involving internationally-renowned researchers who collaborate with industry, government, and academic partners. Facilities include state-of-the-art aquatic research laboratories, a 12,000-square-foot aquatic animal facility, and an ISO-17025 accredited diagnostic service.
Student working in labStudents and professors with equipmentStudent working at computerLab technicians working at tank

Ship time

While the bulk of a researcher's data recording and analysis happens on land, it's on the water where most of the scientific action happens. OFI works with partners to share access to ship time and in-water infrastructure. By working together, we expect to reduce costs and accelerate the speed at which research is conducted.

  • Memorial University's Marine Institute is home to the MV Anne S. Pierce, a training and research vessel, as well as the RV Gecho II, a highly sophisticated inshore hydroacoustic research vessel.
  • In collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, OFI researchers have access to Canadian government research vessels. OFI also shares resources with its international partners.

Knowledge mobilization

Through connections within the industry, OFI enables researchers to put their science to work—applying and testing their theories through incubator projects with the eventual goal of achieving commercialization.

OFI has partnered with The Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE), which provides a home to ocean technology businesses, start-ups, researchers, and marine-based and service businesses that support the ocean technology sector.

With a prime waterfront location, on one of the largest harbours in the world, COVE is in close proximity to major ocean research institutes and world-leading companies focused on ocean-technology. It has rail and road access and is located 25 minutes from Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

High tech space at COVE


The COVE facility includes a mix of short and long-term workspace. Amenities include electronics fabrication and testing facilities, mechanical fabrication space, office space, storage spaces, water tanks, waterside marine services, and shared services such as reception and a large multipurpose room for training and events:

  • An eight-acre site, with a 13-acre water lot
  • 2,850 feet of docks & two finger piers
  • A water depth of 49 feet
  • 16,000 square feet of office space
  • 10,000 square feet of incubation space
  • 16,500 square feet of shop and lab space

OFI participates in the Ocean Supercluster — a private sector-led partnership that brings companies together to boost innovation and modernization in Canada's ocean industries. Companies from different ocean sectors will co-invest to adopt and commercialize technologies to solve shared challenges. The Ocean Supercluster will also invest to develop talent, improve supply chain opportunities, and foster more ocean start-ups to build the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Ocean Supercluster recognizes that ocean strengths and capabilities can be leveraged to accelerate the development and benefits of ocean resources for all of Canada:

  • Strengthen links between ocean-based value chains and providers of enabling technologies
  • Develop, deploy, and export innovative technology platforms applicable to multiple ocean industries
  • Fill capability gaps in the innovation ecosystem through the attraction, recruitment, training, and retention of diverse, highly qualified personnel
  • Extend the global reach, attraction, network, and market opportunities for Ocean Supercluster partners
  • Address global challenges related to sustainability, reducing carbon foot-print, and improving energy efficiency