Northeastern University Provost Stephen Director is embarking on a deep-dive journey in the Florida Keys to join researchers who are on a 31-day expedition with the grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau.
The underwater adventure, called Mission-31, will be aboard the Aquarius vessel, where aquanauts from the school’s Marine Science Center have been leading some of the research aspects of the exploration since June 16. They will remain there as part of the mission until July 2.
Northeastern professors Dr. Brian Helmuth and Mark Patterson have been heading research efforts from on land, making daily trips to the underwater lab when necessary. Liz Magee, a Northeastern alum and current coordinator and dive safety instructor at the school’s Marine Science Center, has been living underwater, “saturating” on the Aquarius.
The Aquarius, where scientists are conducting research with Fabien Cousteau, is described as the only underwater marine habitat and lab in the world, and is located nine-miles off the coast of Key Largo. Aquanauts are looking specifically at marine biodiversity and climate impacts on the ocean during their month-long endeavor. The mission celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Cousteau’s grandfather’s deep-dive on the Conshelf Two. Cousteau extended the trip’s length by one day to beat his grandfather’s previous record.
As part of the provost’s dive to visit researchers both below the ocean’s surface and on land, the Museum of Science is hosting a live-chat with scientists aboard the Aquarius. The conversation, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, can also be viewed online, via live-stream, here.
According to Northeastern, the school became involved in the mission because of “the unique opportunity to reach out to the world stage in science and sustainability.” The school’s professors have a vested interested in six areas of ocean research, including coral ecophysiology and sponge activity patterns and diet.
Below is a short video from Northeastern, describing the professors’ exploration efforts:
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