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University Scholar broadcasts live from the bottom of the ocean

A former University student is taking part in a series of unique underwater classroom tutorials off the coast of the Florida Keys.

Dr Annelise Hagan, current Visiting Scholar in the University's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, is broadcasting from the world's only fixed under water research station known as 'Aquarius'.

Three and a half miles off-shore and 60 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, Dr Hagan is living, working and teaching in the Aquarius. As part of a team of Scientists and Videographers, Dr Hagan will primarily be studying the coral reefs.

The 'Aquarius', an underwater structure similar to a submarine but fixed to the ocean floor, will be home to the former University PhD student for the course of the ten day project.

The team will be holding live lessons today at 4 pm and 7pm lasting between 45 minutes and an hour. Lessons will look at a range of subjects including physical oceanography, the role of sponges as filters and the Aquarius as an artificial reef.

Dr Hagan said: 'You may not be able to recognise me underwater in my gas-mask style communications mask but I have yellow fins and I'm the only one with an English accent.'

As well as live broadcasts there are pre-recorded lessons, web-cams, and a virtual tour of the under water station all available on-line.

Extensive details of the project and the team members can be found at the Living Oceans Foundation website. Lessons can be seen online: Classroom Aquarius Marine Education Live.

The project is being run by University of North Carolina Wilmington with the assistance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.