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What We Do

The Medina Aquarius Program is dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide. 

  • As part of the FIU Marine Education and Research Initiative, the Program is enhancing the scope and impact of FIU on research, educational outreach, technology development, and professional training.
At the heart of the program is the one-of-a-kind Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory.
  • Deployed 60 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarius is a globally significant asset that provides unparalleled means to study the ocean, test and develop state-of-the-art undersea technology, train specialized divers and astronauts, and engage the world's imagination.
  • At Aquarius, scientists are at the cutting edge of research on coral reefs, ocean acidification, climate change, fisheries and the overall health of the oceans.
  • Since its deployment in 1993, aquanauts and their support teams have used Aquarius to answer critical challenges facing scientists and policy makers.
  • Universities, government agencies and private industry have conducted more than 130 missions to discover, preserve, train and innovate. More than 600 scientific research papers have been published based on Aquarius science.

Environmental Impact

The Medina Aquarius Program enables an ideal combination of research, education and outreach that is both vital and timely given the state of our global ecosystem and societal needs.

A map shows how Aquarius is located off of Key Largo Shore Base found northwest of the National Marine Sanctuary Boundary in the Florida Keys.


  • Aquarius is the only facility of its kind and offers maximum efficiency and access for the study and exploration of a region particularly susceptible to global environmental threats.
  • Its unique capabilities also make it one of few sites ideal for undersea equipment testing and training for study and exploration in extreme environments such as space.
  • Situated within a marine sanctuary in the Florida reef tract, the most extensive living coral barrier reef system in contiguous U.S. waters and the third largest system in the world, Aquarius provides invaluable access to one of the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on Earth.

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Coral Reefs

  • Coral reefs are precious facets of our oceans, offering coastal protection from storms, wave action and floods, and supporting a rich biodiversity of marine organisms, which provide myriad resources for food, medicines, recreation and tourism.
  • With estimated values of tens of billions of dollars worldwide, coral reef ecosystems also carry limitless intrinsic and cultural value. Yet, they represent one of the most atriskecosystems on the planet.
  • Facing global climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing and species extinctions, we are at a critical time in history to understand, restore and protect coral reefs.

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Marine Education for Everyone

  • Most importantly, Aquarius is a platform for everyone. In keeping with the mission of FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society to, in part, ensure a sustainable future, the Medina Aquarius Program includes extensive educational outreach programming to give access to its marine ecosystem, share its science, and inspire countless minds young and old. Its potential is boundless.

Explore our outreach and education

Our History

From Aquarius being created in Texas to our incredible relocations and renovations, learn all about our journey.

Experience the Legacy

Our Team

Aquarius' operations and vision would not be possible with our experienced staff.

Meet the Team