Researchers were able to gather up to two years' worth of data in just a few weeks because they were living underwater. They set up long-term monitoring equipment to study ocean acidification and coral probes that are the size of a human hair. They also tested a camera that captures animal behavior in slow motion and a sonar device that collects data over a wide range of frequencies, thus increasing the amount of information it collects.
The 460-square-foot pressurized lab has 6 bunks and it sits 63 feet below the ocean's surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Owned by the federal government, the base is equipped to let its inhabitants scuba dive for up to nine hours without needing to resurface or undergo decompression.
"The overarching theme for Mission 31 is the human-ocean connection within the lens of exploration and discovery," Cousteau said in a statement. "Mission 31 pays homage to my grandfather's work and all aquanauts who have since followed his lead in the name of ocean exploration."
Here are some highlights from Mission 31:
This 400 pound grouper hung out at the base and has become a social media rock star. He was named JYC in honor of Jacques Yves Cousteau.