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Mission 31 splashes down


Fabien Cousteau and a team of researchers entered the FIU’s Aquarius June 1 for the start of Mission 31, the longest mission in the history of the world’s only undersea research lab.

Two FIU Marine Sciences students are taking part in the 31-day mission led by Cousteau, the first grandchild of famed ocean explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau.

FIU will broadcast a live Web feed throughout the mission and updates will also be provided via @Mission_31 on Twitter.

Fabian Cousteau, members of the Mission 31 team and members of the FIU Aquarius Reef Base crew head out to sea for the splash down of Mission 31.

Fabien Cousteau, members of the Mission 31 team and members of the FIU Aquarius Reef Base crew head out to sea for the splash down of Mission 31.

The FIU students will conduct experiments for ongoing research at FIU that explores how coral reef ecosystems will respond to climate change, pollution and fishing. They will study the basic biology and physiology of the corals and sponges on the reef. They also will investigate how seawater chemistry is influenced by coral reef organisms and nearby ecosystems including the deep ocean, seagrass beds and mangroves. In addition, Shantz and Zenone will conduct experiments to determine how important the large predatory fish – prized by fishermen and disappearing from reefs around the world – are to maintaining healthy coral reefs.