Fabien Cousteau leads “aquanauts” in record-breaking undersea expedition
National Geographic - 06/24/2014
Launched on June 1, Mission 31 is a 31-day, privately funded expedition at Florida International University’s Medina Aquarius Reef Base.
The habitat lies 63 feet (19 meters) below the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Windows look out on swimming fish and deep coral reefs.
The team is studying climate change, ocean acidification, plastics pollution, decline of biodiversity, and predator-prey relationships. Cousteau and his colleagues are also making a documentary film and have participated in more than 50 educational Skype sessions with schools, aquariums, and museums in the United States, Canada, Australia, Kenya, and the Czech Republic.
National Geographic spoke with Fabien Cousteau, as well as scientists Liz Magee and Grace Young, inside Aquarius via Skype. Magee is a research diver with Northeastern University; Young graduated in May from MIT with a degree in mechanical and ocean engineering, with a specialty in marine robotics.