The Cousteau Divers scientific program makes divers an active agent for the study and protection of the oceans. With very simple methods and tech, divers can record their observations on marine life in real time or after the dive. By uniting a community of divers who are concerned about the marine environment, Cousteau Divers brings the legacy of Jacques-Yves Cousteau to life, making each diver an agent of the study and conservation of the aquatic realm.
COUSTEAU is proud to announce Project Hermes, a pioneering environmental project, spearheaded by Cousteau Divers and supported by IWC Schaffhausen our partner. Indeed, Cousteau Divers, created by Pierre-Yves Cousteau, Captain Cousteau’s last born son, intends to study the effects of climate change by measuring the temperature beneath the ocean’s surface, combining data from precision sensors with measurements taken by thousands of recreational divers. The goal is to give scientists a better understanding of how the ocean’s temperature affects biodiversity and climate.
The ocean absorbs about 90% of the planet’s heat and produces more than half the oxygen we breathe. It acts as the Earth’s air conditioning system, and feeds hundreds of millions of people. A critical factor in understanding how the ocean stores and releases energy is its temperature. However, scientists still need more data in order to build a comprehensive picture of how ocean temperatures vary at depth, especially in coastal ecosystems, which are home to the vast majority of marine biodiversity.
In 1973 Jacques-Yves Cousteau created the Cousteau Society, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the protection of ocean life. His life’s work fosters a deep respect for marine life and the willingness to help protect it. This need to protect endangered species is just as relevant today as ever, and is something that IWC has been tirelessly supporting since 2003. The Swiss luxury manufacturer paid tribute to the ocean-going pioneer with four limited special editions, while a fifth, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Jacques-Yves Cousteau, celebrated the 100th birthday of the famous researcher and filmmaker in 2010. IWC is now extending its partnership with the Cousteau Society by supporting Cousteau Divers.
“Cousteau Divers aims to reveal coastal temperatures of the ocean by supplementing satellite surface measurements with those taken by thousands of recreational divers around the world. By centrally storing this data in a cloud and making it accessible to scientists and enthusiasts, we hope we can contribute to a better understanding of how the ocean’s temperature not only influences the climate, weather patterns, or storm formations, but also fish and bird populations,” explains Pierre-Yves Cousteau, marine conservationist and founder of Cousteau Divers.
COMBINING DATA FROM PRECISION SENSORS AND A FLEET OF DIVE COMPUTERS
Pioneering technology to measure the ocean’s computer
To measure the ocean’s temperature reliably and with a high degree of precision, Cousteau Divers’ team of volunteer engineers, led by Brad Bazemore and Brendan Walters, have developed a prototype for a portable precision temperature sensor. The device will track GPS and underwater navigational information, and measure the temperature with high levels of accuracy. As a systems platform, the device will later be able to include additional oceanographic measurements such as conductivity, optical density and pH. About 50 of these sensors will be deployed to dive centres globally, at locations selected with the help of scientific partners. The entire project is open source, meaning that both the hardware and the software designs are available online, in order to foster innovation and creativity from the global communities of both divers and engineers.
This pilot deployment will last for 18 months to gather user feedback and verify the validity of the data collected before a second, larger deployment takes place. At this point, the online platform will accept a variety of oceanographic data sources.
Thanks to this collaborative approach, Cousteau Divers has the potential to reveal the temperature of the ocean with scientific accuracy, in near real-time, and using cost-effective citizen science.
All images © Remy Steiner.