Aquarius Reef Base is the world's only undersea research station dedicated to science and education.
At FIU’s Aquarius Reef Base, we believe that exploration is vital to the human spirit and endeavor to meet challenges of working in extreme environments in a safe and cost effective way. Through the capabilities of the Aquarius habitat - the world's only manned undersea research station – a coalition of scientists, educators, engineers and visionaries challenge the boundaries of the sea to further scientific discovery, develop innovative education programs and engage a worldwide audience through virtual experiences.
The Medina Aquarius Program at FIU is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide. As part of the FIU Marine Education and Research Center, the Medina Aquarius Program is enhancing the scope and impact of FIU on teaching, research, educational outreach, technology development and professional training. At the heart of the program is the one-of-a-kind Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory.
Aquarius is a complex system that features the undersea habitat located in a sand patch on Conch Reef; a life support buoy on the surface that contains power generators, air compressors and telecommunications equipment; and a mission control center in Islamorada, Florida. Because the habitat provides divers with the ability to live undersea for weeks at a time, Aquarius enables research that cannot be done anywhere else on the planet. Unlike traditional surface-based scuba diving, which limits the amount of time divers can spend on the bottom, Aquarius aquanauts are saturation divers. This capability means researchers can spend up to nine hours of bottom time per day at 95 feet and an unlimited amount of time in the water at 50 feet.
Most importantly, Aquarius is a platform for everyone. In keeping with the mission of FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) to, in part, ensure a sustainable future, the Medina Aquarius Program includes extensive educational outreach programming to give access to its marine ecosystem, share its science, and inspire countless minds young and old. Its potential is boundless.
Aquarius Reef Base: Mission Themes
Marine Ecosystem Science and Long-Term Monitoring
Aquarius provides scientists with the opportunity to conduct crucial research covering a variety of areas including water quality, coral reef biology, ecology, and physiology, long-term ocean monitoring, restoration science, ocean acidification, and global climate change.