Jean Jaubert


Jean Jaubert’s fascination for the underwater world and aquarium hobby started in the middle of the fifties. In 1979, he invented the ecological purification process later known under the name of MICROCEAN® or JAUBERT NNR SYSTEM and became the first scientist able to raise reef corals in closed-circuit aquariums. A few years later his laboratory-cloned Stylophora became as a new kind of lab-rat.

In 1991, while Jean Jaubert was Professor of marine biology at the University of Nice, the Council of Europe and the Principality of Monaco commissioned him to establish the European Oceanographic Center, a new research center hosted by the Oceanographic Museum and tasked with uncovering the causes behind degradation of reefs and other major problems.

The main discoveries of his teams concern the way coral reefs contribute to the maintenance of great balances of biosphere and the fact that rising CO2 levels and warming temperatures, inhibit calcification and may lead to the regression of many reefs.  In 2002, he left the University of Nice and the European Ocean Observatory to become Chief Scientist and Expedition leader of The Cousteau Society.

It was the beginning of a new adventure. In November 2003, he sailed to the Red Sea onboard of Alcyone, the famous turbosail vessel of Jacques Cousteau, for a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Calypso. His crew filmed the shooting sites of 2 mythical films: The World of Silence and the World Without Sun. In July 2004, Jean Jaubert came back to the Principality and took over as general director of the Oceanographic Museum, a position that Jacques Cousteau had occupied during 32 years.

Today, in his small private lab, Jean Jaubert develops reef tanks of various sizes that make use of the last improvements of his water purification system.

40 000 litres Monaco

25 years of uninterrupted growth for a captive reef kept at the Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum

The Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum harbors one of the (and perhaps the) oldest captive reefs of the world. This reef is kept in a 40,000 liters semi-closed aquarium almost entirely balanced by implementing the Jaubert NNR system invented and perfected during 10 years (1979-1989) at the University of Nice (France).

The tank was stocked in 1989 with live rocks, live sand, corals and fishes collected during a field trip in the Indian Ocean. The corals have built a reef, which is still thriving today after 25 years of uninterrupted development. At the time when coral reefs are under heavy pressure because of overexploitation, pollution and ocean acidification this successful experiment opens interesting prospects of ex situ conservation.

The recent improvements of the carrying capacity of the ecological Jaubert NNR system might revive its popularity amongst hobbyists who need to keep many species of corals and fish but can’t invest too much time and efforts in the maintenance of closed-circuit tanks.