We completed a study of the Aquarius If Reefs Could Talk educational program sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation and AT&T. If Reefs Could Talk was carried out alongside NOAA’s undersea research mission based in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research habitat located on the seafloor near the coral reefs in the Florida Keys.
The goal of the program was to engage viewers from schools across the country and science museums in a virtual exploration of the remote undersea research station, undersea environments, and the fragile and heavily impacted coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Viewers engaged in live, interactive conversations with scientists about the Aquarius research facility, the undersea research activities they were conducting on the mission, and received key messages about ocean conservation and stewardship. The mixed-method evaluation study included interviews with participating project scientists in the Aquarius habitat and project staff, alongside web surveys for students and teachers who participated in the two-way broadcast experiences. Learn more at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/missions/2010aquarius/meet_aquarius.html.
More on Aquarius…
Aquarius is an undersea laboratory and home for scientists studying the marine environment and is owned and operated by Florida International University (FIU). The underwater habitat currently sits in about 60 feet of water, 4.5 kilometers offshore of Key Largo, Florida, on a sand patch adjacent to deep coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Through saturation diving techniques, Aquarius allows scientists to live and work underwater 24 hours per day for mission that typically last 10 days. Living underwater allows scientists to conduct research and observe things that would be difficult to observe if diving from the surface.