A sound aquatic science program is rooted in the ability to make systematic observations over time and over large areas which are then objectively analyzed to produce meaningful information on the status, patterns and trends in the aquatic ecosystems. In Canada the ability to observe, understand and make informed decisions concerning the management of our natural resources below the surface of the water is largely dependent on the science conducted by DFO and its partners.

Ocean monitoring, in the form of a sustained and systematic ocean observation program, is one of DFO Science's core functions. DFO Science at BIO leads or participates in several long-term ocean monitoring programs. These programs are on spatial scales ranging from coastal embayments such as Bedford Basin, to climatically-important areas of the Northwest Atlantic such as the Labrador Sea. Pilot monitoring programs are also undertaken to help identify priorities and optimal strategies for additional long-term monitoring programs.