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Hangout with Sylvia Earle at the Undersea Laboratory, Aquarius

In case you missed it, we hung out with Sylvia Earle and fellow Aquanauts at Aquarius Reef Base. Enjoy!

To learn more about Sylvia’s mission to increase ocean research and save the Aquarius Reef Base click here.

Visit One World, One Ocean for more information Mission Aquarius.

From 60 feet below the surface…

The laboratory has been called both an “underwater space station” and a “time machine for scientists”. The structure itself has been absorbed by the ecosystem to become a living reef. Nestled in a coral reef 60 feet below the surface, 8 miles off Key Largo, Florida, Aquarius Reef Base is the only operating seafloor habitat in the world. With over 350 missions completed at the laboratory since it opened nearly 20 years ago, the base is buzzing with scientific activity.

Now you can explore this underwater laboratory during our next Google+ Hangout with Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, aquanaut pioneer and member of Aquarius’s next expedition team.

Drs. Sylvia Earle and Mark Patterson, Professor of Marine Science at College of William & Mary, will co-lead what may be the final expedition to Aquarius. The mission will investigate coral and sponge biology on the reef, as well as celebrate 50 years of human exploration on the sea floor. Beginning with Jacques Cousteau’s Conself I project, humans have been living on the sea floor for the purposes of science, innovation, and exploration since 1962.

Award-winning filmmaker and fellow aquanaut DJ Roller will also join Sylvia and Mark for the expedition capturing 3D images in resolutions high enough for a five-story-tall IMAX screens. DJ and his production team plan to capture an entirely new view of science and living underwater.

Join us as we step inside this self-contained 80-ton cylindrical steel chamber for a chat with Sylvia and a chance to check out where the team will spend several days living and studying the surrounding ecosystem.


Learn More

Aquarius Reef Base Home Page

Follow Aquarius and Sylvia Earle on Twitter

Check out NG’s episode of Wild Chronicles: Aquarius

Past NG Hangouts:

Hangout with Climbers on Mt. Everest

Hangout with Three Ocean Explorers


  1. Brandon Bethea
    San Diego, CA
    January 16, 2013, 4:46 pm

    It was an honor to participate as one of the panelists at the Hangout with the Aquanauts. There was a recent announcement that Aquarius has received the funding needed to continue operations, so great work by National Geographic, One World One Ocean, FIU, and everyone involved!!! Here’s a link with more details… http://mission-blue.org/2013/01/mission-to-save-aquarius-reef-base-a-success/

  2. Michael Prior
    Pasadena, CA
    July 16, 2012, 7:13 pm

    What a great hangout!

    Where is the coordinated effort to keep Aquarius alive?!?! People are teeming with excitement and passion to make things happen, but we don’t know what to do. Advice?
    Thank you

  3. Will Nuckols
    Washington, DC
    July 16, 2012, 2:03 pm

    Would the senate proposal to move a couple of satellite programs from NOAA to NASA allow for a refocusing on ocean programs and therefore allow federal facilities such as Reefbase Aquarius to continue?

  4. Laurie Wiegler
    Milford, CT
    July 16, 2012, 1:51 pm

    How often is Sylvia going out of Aquarius to dive? How about the others? What’s the time line for all of saving Aquarius if we become vocal? When they saw the sharks last night, any concerns or is this just an everyday occurrence?

  5. Carolyn Sorensen
    United States
    July 16, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Hi all! I was wondering if there is any ‘hot news’ from the ICRS conference last week. I make jewelry as a hobby and am continually aggravated by the use of coral for jewelry. There’s a real need for a potent infographic to get that message across. Were there any good charts or other materials from ICRS that might help?? There is a great deal of coral being used for jewelry, knife handles and other “accessories”. If you can suggest some materials pls send them to the above email and I will post on G+ and pinterest.

  6. Deborah Green
    Albuquerque, NM
    July 16, 2012, 1:46 pm

    My dehydrated desert students are fascinated with the ocean, so much so that I started a Marine Science class. My students’ biggest question is “What can we do from here to help?”

  7. Mathew Tragash
    Miami, FL
    July 16, 2012, 1:45 pm

    This is so incredible. I know lionfish are a large problem in the Caribbean and further. I was wondering if you’ve been conducting any specific experiments pertaining to P. volitans and the ecosystem impacts.

    I apologize if you’ve answered this already, I joined a few minutes late. I’d really enjoy hearing about the results on such from the LTER Aquarius.

  8. Cliff
    Davie, FL
    July 16, 2012, 1:15 pm

    What can we do to keep Aquarius going?

    Who is making the decision not to continue to fund Aquarius and how can we change their mind?

    Is there a way to donate to keep Aquarius in operation?

  9. Colin Drake
    San Francisco
    July 16, 2012, 12:33 pm

    1) Do you think advancing technologies and making information readily available is critical to protecting the oceans future?

    2) What can be done to motivate companies that profit off the ocean to protect? Mainly ocean recreations (diving, surfing, boating).

  10. Julie Brown
    Alton Bay, NH
    July 16, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Can you tell us a little bit about the history of research projects conducted from the Aquarius? Have any new marine organisms been discovered or behaviors observed from the Aquarius? What is the biggest change that has been observed in the Florida Keys waters from the Aquarius since its installation? What are some of the future research projects that are slotted for the research station if funding is secured? If the station is shut down what effects do you think that decision will have on future ocean research?

  11. Inbal Gamliel
    Israel, Afula
    July 16, 2012, 10:10 am

    Hi, I’m starting my biology B.sc in October and I wanted to ask you how did you get to be where you are now? is there a certain path to take?
    Good Luck down there 🙂

  12. Andrew Kornblatt
    San Francisco, United States
    July 14, 2012, 11:00 pm

    One question – What immediate actions can governments, NGOs and individuals do to curtail the devastation that is happening in the Ocean?

  13. Dawn Ziegler
    Riverside. Ca
    July 13, 2012, 5:07 am

    It seems to me as a mother that “kids” get it and adults have no clue, that our oceans are in such danger.
    Do you think that training young people in conservation of our oceans would have more an immediate impact than meetings with political figures and decision makers?

  14. Carol Webster
    Hendersonville, TN
    July 12, 2012, 7:36 pm

    How hard is it to get your work done every day when you can gaze out the windows (you do have windows, right?) and see all the fabulous sea creatures? And what’s the most fascinating thing you’ve seen?

  15. Cathleen Wakeland
    San Antonio, Texas
    July 12, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Our question (my students’ and myself) relates to the human factors aspect of scientists being in such a small enclosed environment for long periods of time.
    How does the interior environment of Aquarius affect you physically and psychologically compared to the larger spaces of a normal above ground laboratory? What would you change about the design of Aquarius if it were to be built again?

  16. Lisa Hermann
    LaBelle, FL
    July 12, 2012, 11:54 am

    Two Questions: Since your project began, what changes have you seen in the pH levels in the Keys, which is not in an area high in industrialization, but extensive ocean currents and the effects on the artificial reef you have created? Second question: Have you seen any indication of any development of a “dead zone” in any near by area( within a few hundred miles) of your lab site and do you find your area to be increasing in biodiversity or showing signs of community decline which will have a negative impact on that ecosystem? Thank you.

  17. Rebecca Ziegler
    Riverside, Ca
    July 11, 2012, 11:01 pm

    How can our generations team up and combine your wisdom and experience with our enthusiasm and youth to bring awareness to the devastation our oceans face and create a movement of action now?
    Thank you,