By Avery Ranieri
It’s an accomplishment in itself to become a college professor; however, to be one who breaks world records, studying underwater is a whole other. University of South Florida’s Dr. Joe Dituri, also known as ‘Dr. Deep Sea,’ spent 100 days in a submarine off the coast of Key Largo teaching, scrutinizing and living abroad. He broke the world record of residing underwater for 73 days.
On March 1, Dr. Dituri entered a 100-square-foot pod and was submerged into an underwater habitat in Jules’ Undersea Lodge. For over the next three months, this international story followed the professor who took care of approximately 5,000 students from online platforms and took care of himself through a groundbreaking sense of spur. These huge milestones involved personal sacrifice, resulting in cases of homesickness.
Dr. Dituri stated, “The feelings of isolation were definitely real while undersea. While I was fortunate enough to be able to connect with friends, family, researchers and students through Zoom, I missed the sense of human connection. It’s simply not the same.”
However, missing his family and friends only led to a stronger drive to accomplish his goal. The mental and physical impact of hydraulic pressure along with the confined space were overwhelming, yet Dr. Dituri strived to prove his educated guess.
“We conducted blood samples, urine samples, saliva samples, electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, pulmonary function tests, blood pressure tests as well as hearing and ear tests, followed by a series of oxygen testing,” he explained.
Dr. Dituri spoke with many Ph.D.s and M.D.s to discuss ways to preserve and protect marine life. While studying hyperbaric pressure and its effect on the human body, he hypothesized that if it could increase blood flow, then it could be used as treatment for brain injuries and disease. His findings are planned to be shared in November at the World Extreme Medical Conference.
This dawn of a new era is expected to advance space exploration and find cures to treating disease. This uncharted level of technology furthers the scientific field. Dr. Dituri’s inspiring journey opens the doors for new innovations, dedication and the making of history. In the midst of investigating and preserving marine life, his journey is a prime example of society’s progress, reminding us that the future is near.