National Marine Sanctuaries
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#9 2010
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Highlighting the World's Only Artificial Underwater Habitat

If there was ever any question about the ability of the sanctuary system to reach a mass audience, a 2010 mission to the only undersea saturation laboratory in the world answered it. A 10-day joint research and education mission titled Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk, funded by AT&T, brought ocean conservation and science to the public via live internet broadcasts. While NOAA and university partners studied ecosystem change and fish behavior during hundreds of hours of diving, 34 shows were broadcast in English and Spanish over the internet, including 18 interactive broadcasts beamed directly to schools and aquariums across the country. Twelve states and four countries were reached directly through the mission programming, reaching over 1,000 students and 500,000 people via the internet.

Bringing the ocean to communities nationwide is the mission of the OceansLIVE program. Since 2005, nearly five million people have been reached through direct connections, and over 40 million with impressions through the media utilizing sanctuaries as special places to tell the ocean story. Live programming has come from multiple sanctuaries including: Florida Keys, Monterey Bay, Thunder Bay, Stellwagen Bank, Channel Islands, Monitor and Flower Garden Banks.

To truly understand something, you must experience it. The Aquarius mission was designed to bring the ocean experience to viewers across the country. Aquarius could become a museum relict if action is not taken to make the model of this mission an everyday occurrence. Get involved in efforts to save Aquarius and support education and research programs of the Marinus Institute.

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