USF professor Dr. Joseph Dituri attempts to live underwater for 100 days, a record

Meet Aquaman from academia.

A University of South Florida professor has been living underwater since early March – and he will attempt to stay in his underwater abode for a record 100 days in a unique biological study.

Joseph Dituri, otherwise known as “Dr. Deepsea” on social media, examines how the human body deals with the long-term effects of remaining submerged in extreme pressure while living in a 100 square foot habitat at 30 feet below the surface at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, according to a USF press release.

“Living in my underwater habitat for the next 100 days,” Dituri excitedly announced in an Instagram video when he began his journey on March 1.

Joseph Dituri
While attempting the record, Joseph Dituri will continue to teach his biomedical engineering course online.

Dituri underwater in Key Largo, Florida on March 1, 2023.
Dituri underwater in Key Largo, Florida on March 1, 2023.
Joseph Dituri/Cover Images/INSTA

“And guess what guys, we are going to do some science to get out of this. We’re going to talk about biomedical engineering, do experiments in biology and biomedical engineering, we’re going to talk to the who’s who of the underwater world, and we’re going to have a great time!” he said.

If Dituri reached his goal of 100 days of underwater life, he would smash the current record of 73 days dating back to 2014 when two professors from Tennessee achieved it.

During his mission, a medical team will dive to regularly check the 55-year-old’s condition. Some of the tests that should be done during and after the study include blood tests, ultrasounds, and electrocardiograms.

Dituri before entering the Jules' Undersea Lodge marine habitat 30 feet below the surface on March 1, 2023.
Dituri before entering the Jules’ Undersea Lodge marine habitat 30 feet below the surface on March 1, 2023.

He will also undergo psychosocial and psychological testing to understand the mental effects of being alone and stuck in a confined space for an extended period similar to space travel.

“The human body has never been underwater for this long, so I will be watched closely,” Dituri said in a statement. “This study will look at all the impacts of this trip on my body, but my null hypothesis is that there will be improvements in my health due to the increased pressure.”

Because Dituri will live under increased pressure, there is hope that it could increase his longevity and prevent age-related diseases, the university said. This possibility comes from Dituri’s advanced findings found in a study where cells exposed to more pressure doubled in five days.

Diving Dituri.
During Dituri’s attempt to break the record, he will be visited by other scientists, students and divers.
Joseph Dituri/Cover Images/INSTA

The record of 73 days underwater set by two researchers from the University of Tennessee in 2014.
The record of 73 days underwater was set by two researchers from the University of Tennessee in 2014.
Joseph Dituri/Cover Images/INSTA

“So, we suspect I’m going to become a super-human!” said Dituri.

While Dituri is attempting a world record, he is still teaching his biomedical engineering course online, the school noted.

He served in the US Navy for 28 years as a saturation diving officer before retiring in 2012 as a commander. He went on to earn his doctorate to learn more about traumatic brain injury, as he said many “brothers and sisters” in the military suffer from it.

Dituri told USA Today on Thursday that he frequently sees divers passing by curious about his living conditions, and while he can still text and talk on Zoom with his mother, girlfriend and three daughters, his mission was not accomplished without sacrifice.

“My daughter is at Caltech, graduating in physics in May. I will miss it,” Dituri told the publication. “We had to adjust it between hurricane season and the holidays, and I’m like, ‘Baby, something had to fall. And she’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it. I know you will be there in spirit. And I’m like, ‘Shit.’

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