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Fabien Cousteau ends 31-day living experiment in undersea laboratory in the Florida Keys

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ISLAMORADA, Florida — Fabien Cousteau says his 31-day underwater living experiment in the Florida Keys was a monumental success that used tools of which his famous ocean explorer grandfather could only dream.

Cousteau and a team of filmmakers and scientists dove June 1 to Aquarius Reef Base to study what effects climate change and pollution are having on a coral reef.

The crew started decompression Tuesday inside the pressurized lab, 63 feet below the ocean's surface off Key Largo. They resurfaced Wednesday and returned to the Aquarius command center in Islamorada.

PHOTO: Fabien Cousteau, standing by a hatch, clasps his hands as he returns to the dock after 31 days undersea in the Aquarius Reef Base, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Cousteau and his team of filmmakers and scientists dove June 1 to study the effects of climate change and pollution on a nearby coral reef. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Fabien Cousteau, standing by a hatch, clasps his hands as he returns to the dock after 31 days undersea in the Aquarius Reef Base, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Cousteau and his team of filmmakers and scientists dove June 1 to study the effects of climate change and pollution on a nearby coral reef. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The entire expedition was broadcast in real time online, and Cousteau held video chats with classrooms worldwide.

Cousteau says he was struck by the sunlight and fresh air when he emerged Wednesday morning, but he already missed his underwater home.


Online: Mission 31, http://mission-31.com/

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PHOTO: Fabien Cousteau, standing by a hatch, clasps his hands as he returns to the dock after 31 days undersea in the Aquarius Reef Base, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Cousteau and his team of filmmakers and scientists dove June 1 to study the effects of climate change and pollution on a nearby coral reef. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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