KEY LARGO, Fla. — A University of South Florida associate professor is spending the next 100 days in an underwater habitat to see how it affects the human body.
The researcher, Dr. Joseph Dituri, is 30 feet below sea level living in an underwater lab to see how his body reacts to living under that constant pressure for over three months.
It may look like just a cramped studio apartment, but this has got to be one of the most intriguing living quarters in the world.
“This is basically the main habitat where I spend most of the day,” Dituri said.
What makes this space unique has got to be where it’s located. Right now, Ditur is living in a habitat 30 feet underwater at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo.
“This is where I’m living, baby,” Dituri said. “Under the sea.”
He’s calling this place home until early June. Along with the main space, which includes the essentials.
“I have a tiny refrigerator and I have a coffee pot, which is absolutely necessary to live,” Dituri said.
He’s got a toilet, a shower and a bed and that’s basically it.
“We’re technically going to be staying underwater for the next 100 days but that’s not the important part,” Dituri said.
The important part, for Dituri, who also goes by his spot-on nickname, 'Doctor Deep Sea,' is to see what happens to a person that spends that amount of time under the pressure of the water.
“We haven’t done this level of research on people while they were underwater,” Dituri said. “No human has stayed past 73 days. We’re going to go all the way to 100.”
And in that time, a medical team of about 10 people will be conducting a wide variety of tests on Dituri.
But aside from that, he wants to explore if anything can be learned to improve human life or if this could help with research for potential trips to places like mars.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Dituri said.
In the meantime, he plans to keep teaching even while he’s underwater.
“I’m actually teaching hyperbaric engineering at the medical engineering college at the University of South Florida,” Dituri said. “And I’m teaching it from the actual hyperbaric environment, so that’ll be great.”
He’ll also host a variety of scientists and researchers to discuss their fields of expertise and about his record-breaking experience that he’ll post on his YouTube channel.
But aside from the experiments, his main goal is to excite people about researching and doing what’s never been done before.
“The unexplored life is not worth living,” Dituri said.
Which is why he wants to live life to the fullest, or as full as you can, in a 13-by-8-foot tube.
Dituri hopes the pressures of living underwater will also help in his research on traumatic brain injuries by learning how the pressure could help in treating that problem.
The current world record for living underwater was set back in 2014 at the same facility in Key Largo.
That crew lasted 73 days.