December 8, 2023

A University of South Florida professor has broken a world record for living in an underwater habitat. Associate Professor Joseph Dituri has lived at Jules’ undersea cabin in Key Largo for more than 75 days since March 1, 2023, and intends to stay there until June 9 to complete his The 100-day Neptune 100 planned mission.

In the 1960s, the first seabed habitats were built by Jacques Cousteau and the U.S. Navy, among others, as a way to explore what was then called “inner space” and to develop ways to colonize the seafloor and make it easier to exploit wealth. part of the ocean. Over the next decade, there was a small boom in steel modules around the world.

Of course, it didn’t last long. As scientists learn more about the physiology and gas chemistry of deep-sea diving, the seafloor habitat movement has become a victim of its own success. By the 1970s, it was discovered that using robots, diving bells, submersibles, and surface divers was safer and cheaper than relying on self-sufficient outposts under the sea.

One of these habitats was the La Chalupa Research Laboratory off the coast of Puerto Rico in the early 1970s. Today it is known as the Jules Undersea Hotel and has been moved to Key Largo, where it sits in 30 feet (9 meters) of water and is used as an underwater hotel for paying guests.

However, it is currently the home of Dituri, nicknamed “Dr. Deep”. According to USF, his stay wasn’t just a matter of breaking records. He was also involved in a study of how the human body adapts to long-term exposure to pressure above sea level. Unlike submarines, which are always at normal pressure, the 100-square-foot (9-square-metre) habitat is filled with compressed air, allowing Dituri to travel to and from his aquatic abode via an open moon pool in the central cabin floor, with bedrooms on one side , the other side is the common room.

Duturi underwent a series of medical tests before heading down the mountain. These will be repeated when he returns to the surface to determine the effect of the oxygen-enriched environment on his physical and mental health. This is of particular interest to Dituri, whose field is hyperbaric oxygen. He hopes to learn more about how high pressure can treat traumatic brain injuries and various diseases by increasing blood flow to the brain.

The video below shows Duturi and his undersea habitat.

USF’s deep sea doctor breaks world record for underwater life

source: University of South Florida