Dr. Jean Jaubert
Jean Jaubert has been keeping marine aquarium for more than 50 years. His fascination for the underwater world and aquarium hobby started in the middle of the fifties. This fascination took roots in his youth spent paddling in the crystal waters of the South Coasts of the Western Mediterranean Sea and using live sand and live rocks to balance seawater tanks. In 1956, when he saw the first Jacques Cousteau’s 35mm film, his fascination turned into a real passion. And 9 years later, as a M. Sc. student, he met the famous oceanographer in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and stroke up a friendship with famous members of his team such as Claude Wesly (chief diver) and Canoe Kienzy (pilot of the diving saucers).
Then Jean Jaubert became marine biologist (Ph. D. in oceanography and Doctor in Science) and experienced SCUBA diver practicing all diving types. In 1975, invited by the NOAA, the NASA and the US NAVY, he took part, from the underwater Habitat HYDROLAB and the Johnson Sealink Submarine, to a series of deep lockout dives simulating space walking in deep sea. At the same time he developed watertight data acquisition systems and carried out in situ experiments that resulted in important findings regarding the physiology and ecophysiology of reef-building corals. However, this intensive underwater work did not led him to forget the importance of ex situ experimentation as well as the usefulness of modern tools of molecular biology.
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.
He quickly raised this center to a world-famous level of excellence demonstrated by a number of papers published in the best scientific magazines and reference journals such as Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA). 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 1998, using a vessel, the Golden Shadow, and a seaplane lent by H.R.H Prince Khaled bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, Jean Jaubert organized very high-resolution air-borne remote sensing operations that enabled scientists to draw the first comprehensive maps of the terrible impact of EL Niño on the coral reefs of the South Pacific Ocean.
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, respectively Palme d’or in Cannes and Oscar winner of the foreign language film in Hollywood. 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. The objective of this move was to resume a fruitful cooperation between the Museum and the Cousteau Society.
In July 2005, Jean Jaubert accompanied H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Svalbard for a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Prince Albert I, the famous pioneering oceanographer. During this field trip, he dived into the waters adjoining the icepack to collect hundred-years-old clams, which contain, fixed into the growth rings of their shells, substances of paramount importance on the understanding of the impact of climate and pollution in the Arctic. Two events crowned the career of Jean Jaubert: his promotion to the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor, upon the proposal of the Minister for Research (France), his promotion to the title of Knight of Saint-Charles (Principality of Monaco) and the publication of a two-page “Profile” in the famous American magazine Science. 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.