The human body is considered one of the most complex organisms capable of adapting to withstand extreme climatic conditions. Professor Joseph Dituri, a researcher from the University of South Florida, was interested in understanding the effects of higher atmospheric pressure found underwater on the human body. Nicknamed “Mr. Deep Sea”, the 55-year-old professor settled himself in Jules’ Undersea Lodge at the Florida Keys, a popular holiday destination known for various water-related activities. The lodge is physically located 30 meters below sea level.
Professor Dituri spent 74 days living under saturation conditions inside the lodge. His diet consisted mainly of high-protein foods such as salmon and eggs. He also made sure to exercise and take daily naps. The project aimed to study the effects of saturation diving on the body over a specific duration of time. Professor Dituri closely monitored his body’s response to prolonged exposure to extreme pressure by conducting daily tests, including blood pressure tests, pulmonary function tests, and electrocardiograms on himself. Alongside his research activities, he spent most of his days conducting online seminars, lectures, and broadcast interviews to educate the public.
Before pursuing his career, Professor Dituri served in the U.S. Navy as a Military saturation diver for over 28 years. Saturation diving involves living under higher water pressure and allowing the body to adjust to the surrounding ambient pressure. According to Henry’s Law, saturation refers to the inhaled gases that have fully saturated the body cells, creating an equilibrium at a constant temperature between the dissolved gas within and outside the body tissues. Saturation diving requires longer decompression times to allow for a gradual adjustment of the reducing surrounding pressure, slowly releasing the gases from the cells. The gases are then released into the bloodstream until the diver eventually exhales them.
The US researcher has expressed his desire to extend the project to 100 days, a project names Neptune 100. This extended duration aims to further explore the effects of living under such conditions. Neptune 100 is an interdisciplinary project merging education in the fields of biomedical research and ocean science. It is organized by the Marine Resources Development Foundation, which owns the habitat where the research takes place.
In conclusion, the outreach project captured the attention of 2,500 students within the marine science and biomedical sectors. Mr. Deep Sea expressed that the only thing he missed during his time underwater was the sunshine.
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