Project SeaCamel

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Imagine yourself in class on the ocean floor at the world’s only underwater laboratory, A robotic fish named “Fetch” swims by collecting data, while a team of “aquanauts” amazes you with high-tech experiments in coral reef ecology.

The Khaled bin Sultan LIVING OCEANS Foundation today announced the schedule of live broadcasts and webcasts for Project SeaCAMEL (Classroom Aquarius Marine Education Live).

From November 12-14, thousands of students and ocean enthusiasts worldwide will participate in six coral reef classroom sessions transmitted live from the seafloor at the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory, America’s “Inner Space Station.”

Aquarius, located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and operated by the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

“As the world’s only undersea research station, the Aquarius Reef Base program offers scientists state-of-the-art technology to conduct underwater research and the unique ability to study coral reefs 24/7,” explained Dr. Ellen Prager, Aquarius’ Chief Scientist.

“Project SeaCAMEL offers a tremendous opportunity to bring the excitement, science and marine technology of Aquarius to students and the public through web technology.”

During the mission, four aquanauts led by Dr. Mark Patterson of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences will descend to the Aquarius habitat to live and conduct experiments.

Joining Dr. Patterson will be: Captain Phil Renaud, USN (ret), Executive Director of the LIVING OCEANS Foundation Dr. Annelise Hagan, LIVING OCEANS’ Chief Project Scientist, and D.J. Roller, cinematographer.

“One of the things I like doing as a marine scientist is to invent new tools to measure things in the ocean,” Dr. Patterson explained.

“Our free-swimming robot “Fetch” will document the corals’ ecosphere, and we’ll use handheld instruments to measure the health of the reef. Learning more about the reef’s problems will hopefully point us toward some solutions.”

The Khaled Bin Sultan LIVING OCEANS Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to ocean conservation, protection, and Science Without Borders (an international program of scientific research expeditions).

“The LIVING OCEANS Foundation has a major emphasis on coral reef research and a mission to translate that research into public education and outreach,” said Executive Director Phil Renaud.

“Project SeaCAMEL is the first in a series of sea-to-shore educational programs designed primarily for university students,” Renaud added, “but middle school students and up will get tremendous value from these virtual classrooms. Best of all, it will be freely available on the Internet.”

Middle School science activities for Project SeaCAMEL will be produced by project partner, Immersion Presents.

The Science Modules:

Monday, November 12 (Live Broadcast 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST)

Living and Working Underwater

Program overview Aquarius Undersea Laboratory and tour of the Habitat.

Monday, November 12 (Live Broadcast 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST)

The Reef at Night

Behavioral changes of reef organisms: corals feeding large predators fish sleeping, and fluorescence of corals and other invertebrates under ultraviolet light.

Tuesday, Nov. 13 (Live Broadcast 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST)

Reefs Under Siege

Coral biology and threats to reefs, including photosynthetic health of corals and the effects of hydrodynamic stress.

Tuesday, 13 Nov. (Live Broadcast 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST)