Science & Research in support of
A State-of-the-Art Marine Research Project
An International Space Station, Underwater
Fabien lives by the principle that “there is no such thing as the impossible!”
For years, Fabien has dreamed of building a modern underwater habitat; an ‘international space station’ under water. His dream and determination to turn this into a reality was reinforced after Fabien and his crew spent 31 days living and working at the last habitable underwater facility, Aquarius, now over 30 years old.
The overall effect of…underwater habitat programs… on our understanding of coral reefs and other subtidal habitats has been enormous.
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Science, Professor of Marine & Environmental Sciences, Northeastern University
to Access and Accelerating Research
Coastal and marine regions include some of the world's most complex and valuable environments. However, fragmentation of effort and poor coordination among and within government agencies, lack of public awareness and support, and the unpredictable nature of funding create barriers to performing research despite present environmental challenges that will only become more pronounced over the next several decades. As the ocean warms, marine bacteria, viruses, and fungi thrive, which increases the likelihood that marine life and humans will be exposed to novel diseases. Scientists and researchers need access to readily available and flexible funding to execute the indispensable research necessary to unlock new discoveries and hasten solutions.
The FCOLC seeks to continue the work advanced by Fabien and the team on Mission 31 by redefining the frontiers of marine research, and it is critical that we start that science and research now. Our plan is to start regionally, in the biodiverse, protected, future home of Proteus: Curacao. FCOLC is building a program focused on the effective use of existing resources and research projects and facilitating multiple uses of data gathered to serve the needs of a variety of end users.
Proteus: Advancing Marine Science and Research In Curaçao
Hi-Resolution Mapping of Curacao’s Marine Protected Area
There is little knowledge of the vast majority of the ocean seafloor, and hi-resolution mapping is a critical tool for protecting and tracking marine life, regulating underwater exploration, ensuring that ships can safely maneuver around structures, both natural and human-made, and for understanding what and where it is safe to explore. Creating a more comprehensive map of the world’s ocean will facilitate a heightened understanding of fundamental processes such as ocean circulation, weather systems, sea level rise, and climate change, leading to more ways to better conserve and sustainably use the oceans.
As a necessary part of the engineering process required to design and build Proteus, it’s imperative to understand the seafloor, prior to determining the precise location of Proteus’ future home. At the end of September 2021, in a collaborative effort focused on inclusivity, diversity and equity, led by our partner Proteus Ocean Group, we are supporting the mapping of Curacao’s Marine Protected Area. In doing so, we initiate Phase 1 of our Science and Research Program. This critical step will result in gathering the first, and important, data point in the regional database that will be developed as integrated data management system.
A Deeper Data Dive
Once the initial mapping is complete, we will continue to dive deeper and create a database of physical and chemical data about the region designed to accelerate knowledge and facilitate innovation in advance of the arrival of Proteus. In collaboration with the Proteus network of academics, scientists and researchers we will accelerate the process of data gathering through targeted expeditions. We will continue to strive for and create long term impact by developing an integrated data management system to enable a timely dissemination and analysis of data
Science Communication and Education
We are also focused on educating future scientists and ocean conservationists. FCOLC will continue to develop educational programming for K-12 to empower the next generation of marine scientists, engineers and innovators.