Published: Jul 19, 2012 4:58 PM EDT

IN THE OCEAN OFF KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) - Marine biologists are rallying to save an undersea lab in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
    
Aquarius Reef Base has allowed scientists to live and work 60 feet under water for a week or more since 1993. NASA also has trained astronauts to live and work in space at Aquarius, where the watery environment is similar to a low earth orbit.
    
The Obama administration has cut the lab's $3 million annual funding, though. That means this week's mission at Aquarius could be its last, unless private funding comes through to keep the lab running.
    
Renowned ocean explorer Sylvia Earle is among the scientists and filmmakers using their time underwater to promote the lab through social media. Earle says closing Aquarius would be "a travesty."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)