FAU Harbor Branch Dives into 50-year Celebration with Exclusive Reveal of Famed Submersible, Special Events

Boca Raton, FL  Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will host a series of special events to celebrate its 50th anniversary with “Ocean Science for a Better World®,” beginning on Monday, Nov. 1.

The main highlight of the series is the first public display of the historic, world-renowned Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL)II submersible at the Elliott Museum in Stuart. Imagined and built in the 1970s by famed inventor and Harbor Branch visionary Edwin A. Link, the JSL II ran manned, deep-sea dive exploration excursions going to depths of 900 meters. Its sister-sub, the JSL I, is displayed at the FAU Harbor Branch campus. Throughout the course of three decades, more than 9,000 dives were made between both submersibles, enabling spectacular discoveries of new species through a never-before-seen perspective.

“FAU Harbor Branch was founded in the spirit of ocean exploration to unveil the mysteries of the deep,” said Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., executive director of FAU Harbor Branch. “We are thrilled to partner with the Elliott Museum for our first-ever JSL public exhibit and to host events and tours at FAU Harbor Branch throughout this year to share our incredible story with the public. To this day, the institute relentlessly pursues innovative ocean research, while providing top-tier educational programs that will lead us to solve the most pressing issues facing our oceans.”

All events are open to the public, with select events running through April 2022.

50th Anniversary Outreach Program Series

Monday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ocean Discovery Visitors Center, 5600 N U.S. Hwy. 1, Fort Pierce

FAU Harbor Branch offers a variety of opportunities for the public to visit its world-renowned oceanographic institute, take a behind-the-scenes look at cutting-edge research, and connect with experts. In recognition of the 50th anniversary, special historical content will be highlighted during tour programs and in new exhibitions at the Ocean Discovery Visitors Center.

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‘Celebrating 50 Years of Ocean Science’ Lecture Series

Wednesdays, Jan. 12 through April 6, 2022

FAU Harbor Branch, 5600 N U.S. Hwy. 1, Fort Pierce 

This year’s lecture series celebrates the 50th anniversary with featured speakers and presentation topics that highlight the institute’s historic events and signature research programs that contribute to ocean science on a global scale.

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‘Celebrating 50 Years of Ocean Science for a Better World®: Exhibition of famed Johnson-Sea-Link II Submersible’

Monday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Elliott Museum, 825 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart

FAU Harbor Branch has partnered with the Elliott Museum to share a one-of-a-kind exhibition with its community and visitors from around the world. This display will include an up-close look at the famed Johnson-Sea-Link submersible and highlights from Harbor Branch’s rich history and current research. Special lectures and activities also will take place at the museum during the exhibition.

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‘Celebrating 50 Years of Ocean Science for a Better World®’ Lecture with Jim Masterson, Ph.D. 

Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.
The Elliott Museum, 825 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart

Located along the Treasure Coast, FAU Harbor Branch is a leader in marine science, engineering, conservation and education. Founded in the spirit of ocean exploration to unveil the mysteries of the deep, FAU Harbor Branch prioritizes solution-oriented research that addresses some of the major issues affecting coastal and ocean zones both locally and internationally. Since its inception, the institute has been instrumental in affecting change in these areas through a deep understanding of critical species, fragile habitats, and ecosystem dynamics. Join the dive into the rich history of its founding, the fascinating research taking place today and learn how to get involved. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session, as well as an interpretive tour of FAU Harbor Branch’s special 50th Anniversary exhibition at the Elliott Museum.

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‘Deep Sea Discoveries and Adventures – Highlights of Dives with the Johnson-Sea-Link Submersibles’ Lecture with John Reed 

Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

The Elliott Museum, 825 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart

Edwin Link was co-founder of HBOI and inventor of the Deep Diver, the first-ever submersible where a person could dive out (lockout) to depths of 700 feet. Link also was behind the invention of the Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) submersible in 1970, which was the only lockout sub with a clear acrylic bubble allowing nearly 360 degree visibility. From 1971 to 2010, the two JSL submersibles completed nearly 9,000 dives down to depths of a half-mile and were conducted by hundreds of researchers from dozens of universities and agencies. John Reed is a research professor at FAU Harbor Branch and has studied deep-water coral reefs and biomedical research for the past 44 years. He will show guests some of his highlights and discoveries with stunning photographs and videos, including items from the early years of the JSL program were the initial 1975 discovery and subsequent decades-long studies using lockout dives to 300 feet of the Oculina deep-water coral reefs off Florida’s east coast. This later resulted in the first deep-water coral marine protected area in the world. Highlights also include attacks by swordfish, dives into giant sinkholes off the Florida Keys, encounters with sharks and Mola Mola sunfish, a dive into an unknown underwater volcano, and photos of new or unknown species that had never been seen alive before in their natural habitat.

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‘Algal Blooms in Florida’s Coastal and Inland Waters’ Lecture with Malcolm McFarland, Ph.D.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at 7 p.m.
The Elliott Museum, 825 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart

Microscopic algae, also known as phytoplankton, are essential components of healthy aquatic ecosystems but some species form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that threaten ecosystem stability, human health, and local economies. The frequency and intensity of these HABs appear to be increasing due to nutrient pollution and other human-induced modifications to the natural environment. This talk will focus on the multiple HAB species that are found in South Florida and current efforts to better understand their bloom dynamics.

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‘Power from the Gulf Stream – The Potential and Challenges of Developing Blue Energy’ with William Baxley

Thursday, Dec. 9 at noon 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 111 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale campus

This course explores the science of ocean circulation, why there are powerful currents in specific parts of the world, how weather may affect currents and deployed systems, and the potential renewable energy that may be harnessed. The regulatory challenges will be presented, since these, as with terrestrial power systems, may pose significant difficulties to the implementation of offshore power production sites. Examples of prototype systems and ongoing research at FAU will be showcased including graphical representations of oceanographic features and theory, previously developed technologies, and potential solutions to the many challenges of harnessing a major ocean current. William Baxley is the chief engineer of the Southeast Marine Renewable Energy Center at FAU Harbor Branch.

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‘FAU Harbor Branch – 50 Years of Ocean Science for a Better World®’ Lecture with Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 at 3 p.m.

FAU Boca Campus, 777 Glades Road 

Join us for a dive into the rich history of FAU Harbor Branch’s founding, the fascinating research taking place today and its investment in the next 50 years. Presented by Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., executive diector of FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, this program will highlight the innovative ocean research and its top-tier educational programs that will lead to the solving of the most pressing issues facing the world’s oceans. Founded in the spirit of ocean exploration to unveil the mysteries of the deep, FAU Harbor Branch prioritizes solution-oriented research that addresses some of the challenges affecting coastal and ocean zones both locally and internationally. Since its inception, the institute has been instrumental in affecting change in these areas through a deep understanding of key species, fragile habitats and ecosystem dynamics. Using visuals and anecdotes from the past, guests will learn about the visionary Edwin A. Link and his passion for ocean engineering and exploration which led to the establishment of Harbor Branch in 1971. Learn about FAU Harbor Branch’s principal areas of research: Marine Ecosystem Conservation, Aquaculture Innovation and Food Security, Ocean Health: Human Health and Technological Innovation and National Defense.

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‘50 Years of Ocean Science for a Better World®’ Campus Tour 

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.

FAU Harbor Branch, 5600 N U.S. Hwy. 1, Fort Pierce 

This unique opportunity to explore FAU Harbor Branch takes guests behind the scenes to better understand the significant research conducted there. This excursion includes transportation to the institute, a golf-cart tour that explores the 144-acre waterfront campus, a visit to the Exploration Command Center, and lunch. In celebration of the institute’s 50th anniversary, participants will hear historical highlights, learn about its cutting-edge research, view some of the exciting deep-sea creatures that have been encountered, and discover the impact this work has on everyday lives. Participants will see the iconic Johnson Sea Link deep-diving submersible and views of the Indian River Lagoon and Florida wildlife. Due to the VIP nature of this excursion, space is limited, so sign-up early.

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Indian River Lagoon Symposium 2022
Thursday, Feb. 17 and Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.

FAU Harbor Branch, 5600 N U.S. Hwy. 1, Fort Pierce 

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Symposium is a multi-institutional effort to provide a public forum for scientists, decision-makers, students, education and outreach professionals, as well as the interested public to discuss science and its application to the management of the IRL. In its 11th year and in celebration of FAU Harbor Branch’s milestone anniversary, the symposium will look at the progress and achievements that have significantly affected how the IRL is cared for and how to continue to do so for the next 50 years.

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For a full list of events and event details, visit www.fau.edu/hboi/50/events

About Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is a world class research organization with a focus on exploring the marine environments, studying key species and understanding the connection between humans and the ocean. Founded in 1971 as Harbor Branch Oceanographic Foundation, Inc., the Institute expanded its reach to over 100 miles along Florida’s east coast when it joined Florida Atlantic University in 2007. Located in St. Lucie County, our 144-acre campus along the Indian River Lagoon employs over 200 scientists, engineers, educators, staff and students. To this day, the Institute actively pursues solution-oriented research that addresses some of the most critical issues affecting coastal zones, oceans and human well-being.

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu..  

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