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USF researcher Joseph Dituri shares what he learned from his 100-day stay underwater

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 A man sits at his desk in his office. In front of him is a computer monitor and there are shelves on the wall.
Matthew Peddie
WUSF Public Media
Joseph Dituri at his West Tampa office

Joseph Dituri's goal was to gather data for medical research and understand the effects of long-term living in a confined environment.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk withJoseph Dituri, a University of South Florida researcher who spent 100 days living underwater.

Dituri, 55, is a retired US Navy diver who has a PhD in biomedical engineering and goes by the nickname "Dr. Deep Sea."

He says the purpose of living underwater for 100 days was to gather data for medical research and to learn more about what it would be like to spend months in a confined environment, similar to what astronauts will experience on missions to deep space.

When he surfaced last month after a record-breaking stay underwater, he was a tiny bit shorter and couldn’t see too well.

The decrease in height and myopia were a couple of the side effects of more than three months living in the pressurized environment of Jules Undersea Lodge — more than 20 feet below the surface of the ocean — at the bottom of a lagoon in Key Largo.

During his stay at the lodge, scuba divers brought Dituri meals and he kept busy teaching online classes and talking to thousands of students about science.

For this week’s show, host Matthew Peddie met him at his office at the Undersea Oxygen Clinic in Tampa to talk about his time underwater and his early introduction to scuba diving during his childhood in New York.

You can listen to the full conversation by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.

 Man wearing a snorkel smiling in the water
Brock Communications
USF researcher Joseph Dituri smiles on June 9, 2023, as he resurfaces in Key Largo after setting a world record for living underwater.

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.