Lack of funding has left the Aquarius Reef Base, an underwater laboratory in the Florida Keys, fighting for its survival.
The world's last undersea research laboratory, is running out of money.
The Obama administration cut off funding for the 25-year-old Aquarius Reef Base located 63 feet underwater in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. If it cannot raise money on its own, it will be forced to shut down. The base is owned by the federal government and operated by scientists from the University of North Carolina–Wilmington.
Sylvia Earle, former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and now explorer-in-residence at National Geographic, spoke with NPR about the importance of undersea research facilities, especially of saturation diving, in which divers live for long periods under pressure to prevent illness associated with decompression.