National Geographic : 1971 Aug
Tektite II's prime concern, however, is the ocean environment, one of our most precious and increasingly threatened resources. Under the direction of the U. S. Department of the Interior, more than forty American and for eign scientists joined in this seven-month study of Great Lameshur Bay, with its wide spectrum of tropical marine life. A long list of universities and Government agencies par ticipated in the project. The habitat itself was built by General Electric, Tektite's principal industrial participant. Others before us have lived on the ocean floor; in a sense we are the second generation. The first consists of such pioneers as Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Capt. George F. Bond of the U. S. Navy's Sealab program, Edwin A. Link, and their colleagues, whose develop ment of undersea habitats gave man a key to a vast and unexplored world.* These pioneers, however, are primarily 264 divers and engineers, concerned more with techniques and equipment than with pure marine research. We, on the other hand, are scientists who have learned to dive in order to study the ocean environment in detail. Daylight and Darkness Control Reef Life As Ian and I explore our endlessly varied domain, darkness wells from the ocean floor. Sunset along the reef signals a massive turn over of the inhabitants as daytime foragers give way to prowlers of the night. Amid the lengthening shadows, gorgeously colored par rotfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, and damselfish filter slowly back into the hidden crevices *NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC has published many articles on experiments in underwater living. Notable among these are Captain Cousteau's "Working for Weeks on the Sea Floor," April 1966, and "At Home in the Sea," April 1964; and Edwin A. Link's "Tomorrow on the Deep Frontier," June 1964, "Outpost Under the Ocean," April 1965, and "Our Man-in-Sea Project," May 1963.