KEY LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — The University of South Florida professor who broke the world record for the longest time spent living in a fixed underwater habitat last month resurfaced on Friday after spending 100 days underwater.
Dr. Joseph Dituri, known as “Dr. Deep Sea,” emerged with a huge smile on his face after spending months 22 feet below the surface at Jules’ Undersaw Lodge in Key Largo.
“What are you guys all doing here?” Dituri laughed after taking off his scuba mask.
Dituri hadn’t seen land since March 1. He took the plunge to study how long-term confinement and exposure to pressure in underwater environments affects the human body, specifically those with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.
Dituri shrunk half an inch over the course of the mission, dubbed Project Neptune 100. Researchers found that his cholesterol dropped 72 points and he spent around 20% more time in REM sleep.
“To explore anything new always results in personal and professional discoveries,”
Dituri said. “This experience has changed me in important ways, and my greatest
hope is that I have inspired a new generation of explorers and researchers to push past
Dituri plans to share his research at the World Extreme Medical Conference in Scotland this November.
The professor continued to teach his students, virtually, while living below the surface. Dituri also interacted with over 5,500 students from 15 countries.
He broke the world record on day 73, which was previously held by Tennessee teachers Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain. The pair also spent time in an underwater lab in 2014.