Fabien Cousteau is pictured inside the marine laboratory
Aquarius in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters.
Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed French oceanographer
Jacques Cousteau, has emerged from the turquoise waters off the
Florida Keys, marking the end of a record-breaking, 31-day stay
in an underwater habitat with a team of scientists and
The younger Cousteau, 46, along with two "aquanauts," took
the 18m dive to Aquarius, an 18m laboratory resting off of
Key Largo, on June 1 following years of preparation and
"After 31 days under water, [Fabien Cousteau] and his crew
are about to become land dwellers again," the Mission 31 team
announced on Twitter shortly after 9am (local time).
While Cousteau's goal was to attract more support for ocean
conservation, teams of scientists from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and Northeastern University rotated
through the laboratory studying the impact of changing seas
on underwater life.
The ability to live underwater allowed researchers to leave
the habitat several times a day, including the middle of the
night, to collect samples from nearby coral reefs and observe
marine life in otherwise impossible circumstances.
Aquarius is air conditioned and equipped with wireless
Internet access, a shower, a bathroom and six bunks, as well
as portholes that gave the occupants a 24-hour view of the
surrounding marine life.
Despite a successful trip, the month-long stay was not
without its challenges.
"One night the air conditioning stopped working and it got to
95 degrees (35 C) and 95 percent humidity," said Andrew
Shantz, a Ph.D. candidate in marine eco-science at Florida
International University, who spent 17 days in the lab in the
beginning of June.
"We saw a Goliath grouper attack a big barracuda, which is
something I never imagined happening," Shantz said.
The previous record for living under water was held by
Cousteau's grandfather, who in 1963 spent 30 days in a
similar facility in depths of about 9m in the Red Sea.