MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The future of the world’s only undersea research station may now be in the hands of Florida International University.

In a message to students and staff last week, FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said the South Florida school had proposed assuming operations at Aquarius Reef Base which is located on the ocean floor, three miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

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The fully equipped pressurized lab, no bigger than a school bus, allows scientists to rotate in and out to study the ocean, coral reef system and marine life. The scientists are able to live and work underwater for days at a time without needing to come up for air.

It was the last government-funded underwater research lab until the Obama administration cut its funding last year. Without private funding, Aquarius was scheduled to shut down at the end of December.

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Rosenberg said FIU’s proposal to take over operations at Aquarius fits the school’s commitment to environmental studies.

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