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Living Oceans Foundation selects Virginia Institute of Marine Science as academic partner for inaugural live underwater classroom project

Landover, Maryland, Jun. 18 - /EWire/ -- The Khaled bin Sultan LIVING OCEANS Foundation has announced that Dr. Mark R. Patterson of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will lead Project SeaCAMEL (Classroom Aquarius Marine Education Live), the first in a series of "sea to shore" education missions planned by the Foundation.

From November 12-14, Project SeaCAMEL's intensive coral reef studies will be Webcast live to thousands of students and ocean enthusiasts worldwide from the Aquarius Laboratory: America's "Inner Space Station." Aquarius is located on the seafloor of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, off Key Largo. It is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and operated by the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Patterson, a veteran of six Aquarius missions said, "I'm excited about directing my team of graduate student 'aquanauts' in underwater classroom experiments to test hypotheses on the cutting edge of marine science and coral reef ecology." Project SeaCAMEL will employ the Fetch 1 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, a sophisticated robotic mobile sensor designed by Patterson.

The LIVING OCEANS Foundation In 2000, Saudi Arabian Prince Khaled bin Sultan founded the Living Oceans Foundation as a 501(c)(3) American Public Benefit, Private Operating Foundation to promote ocean conservation through research and education, and to advance its unique program of Science Without Borders®.

"As I began to travel the seas and dive beneath them, my interest matured into a deep love for our oceans, the life they sustain, and an abiding passion to preserve and protect the fragile balance of the seas for future generations," Prince Khaled said. "Project SeaCAMEL is one important step toward our goal of improving ocean literacy."

Outreach from Undersea "Project SeaCAMEL is designed to inspire young marine scientists by providing an unparalleled opportunity for actual and virtual participation in underwater coral reef science classes," said Captain Philip G. Renaud, USN (ret), Executive Director of the LIVING OCEANS Foundation. "We will connect students with live images and educational instruction from sea to shore by integrating the latest innovations in audio, video and Internet technologies."

An underwater video crew from project partner Media Arts, Inc. will document the action in and around Aquarius, while project partner Immersion Presents will direct-link the SeaCAMEL mission ashore via satellite and the Internet, and will produce a multimedia science education and outreach program.

For more information:

Media Opportunities State-of-the-art ocean exploration and educational innovation, with stunning visuals from the Aquarius Habitat. Pre-mission interviews in Key Largo, 8-9 November, and with mission “Aquanauts” by video-teleconference, 12-14 November, 2007.

Advance background video available on request.

Interviews CAPT Philip Renaud, Executive Director, Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, prenaud@livingoceansfoundation.org, 301-577-1288

Dr. Mark Patterson, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, mrp@vims.edu 804-684-7374

Media Contacts Melinda Harrison harrison@livingoceansfoundation.org 301-577-1288

www.livingoceansfoundation.org

www.uncw.edu/aquarius

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