Hollywood actor Ian Somerhalder who became famous in the hit television drama series ‘The Vampire Diaries’ paid a high-profile visit to the world’s only underwater research station, the Aquarius, on World Ocean’s Day (June 8) to experience what life is like - underwater.
The Aquarius is something akin to the International Space Station, but located about 63 feet [19.2 meters] beneath the ocean surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, administered by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Somerhalder and Cousteau was joined by Dr Greg Stone, the executive vice president for Conservation InternationaI’s Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans who wanted to see firsthand the health of the corals and fish populations around Aquarius.
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It was also home for 31 days to French oceanographer Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed marine explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who led a 30-day underwater exploration in 1963.
The younger Cousteau recently broke his grandfather’s 30-day stay of living underwater and completed 31 days in the Aquarius to complete Mission 31, a global marine research expedition.
Mission 31 highlighted the three main challenges that impacts the ocean’s inhabitants and their habitats: climate change and ocean acidification; ocean pollution due to dumping of plastic; and overconsumption of natural resources which has led to the decline of fishing population and other marine biodiversity.
Fabien is also the founder of Plant A Fish, a non-profit organisation that helps communities implement a healthy “replanting” of key marine species with the ultimate goal of planting one billion ‘fish’ worldwide.
Meanwhile, Somerhalder also runs his own charity organisation called Ian Somerhalder Foundation. He has been known to have actively participated in the clean up of the oil drill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.