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HYDRA Project Lauched: Underwater Scooters to Help Research



The sea and its resources to love and protect, and the man, with his innate desire to explore the depths with increasingly advanced technologies, but also with the limitations imposed by physics and physiology. This is how HYDRA originated, a new and ambitious research project created by DAN Europe and SUEX, in collaboration with the Portofino Marine Protected Area Consortium. A memorandum of understanding was signed last August 3rd in Santa Margherita. For the first time, in fact, the use of DPVs (Diver Propulsion Vehicles, also called underwater scooters) has been allowed inside a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for scientific purposes.

With the use of underwater scooters the diver is able to reach new and exciting places, expanding the range of his explorations,” says Ivo Calabrese, marketing manager at SUEX, a leading company in the production of DPVs. These vehicles also have the advantage of reducing physical effort whilst diving, with potential positive effects on the diver’s health.

In order to better understand these mechanisms, a specific research protocol has been developed. “Scientific studies in this field are practically non-existent,” says Massimo Pieri, researcher at DAN Europe, an international medical organisation dedicated to the health and safety of divers. “Our aim is to investigate the physiological effects of DPV use, especially focusing on post-dive bubbles, pulmonary stress and alteration of body fluids“, Mr. Pieri continues. The protocol includes clinical tests, as well as pre and post dive diagnostic examinations, such as cardiac and pulmonary echocardiography, and infrared thermal imaging.

Collaboration with the Portofino Marine Protected Area Consortium was a key element. The MPA Director, Mr. Giorgio Fanciulli, signed the memorandum of understanding and issued an official authorisation, allowing the study activities to be carried out inside the Marine Protected Area. In fact, involvement of the Portofino MPA in the HYDRA Project is not limited to the strict diving regulations. Long, multiple dives, covering an extended area, offer a unique opportunity to observe and monitor the surrounding marine environment.

The HYDRA team consists of 14 selected and highly qualified divers. All of them are experienced dive instructors or trainers, and received specific training to collect data. They will be allowed to enter and dive in zones B and C, at a defined speed and strictly respecting the protocol. Four dive sites have been selected: Testa Leone, Altare, Secca Gonzatti and Mohawk Deer.

It is an integrated, cross-research project that brings different elements together: medical research, technological development, all this respecting the surrounding environment,” declares Laura Marroni, Vice President of DAN Europe.

The first research and monitoring data will start to be collected in the next few days. The investigation will continue until the end of 2018.

Gear News

New 60m Reel and Dive Torch Combo from Northern Diver



Northern Diver have launched a new 60m Reel & Dive Torch Combo.

The innovative Northern Diver line reel has a unique design and it has been manufactured from a combination of anodized aluminium and synthetic polymers, to make it strong, lightweight and corrosion resistant. The free-flowing spool has a thumb operated spool-lock, to ensure controlled line deployment and a ‘sprung’ reel handle. Allowing the handle to extend whilst in use, if wearing gloves but springs back to half its length, for easy storage. Supplied complete with 60m (197’) of high-vis orange reel line.

The reel also incorporates an attachment point on the top and rubber fixing band allowing you to easily mount Northern Divers Varilux Micro Dive Torch. Ideal for hands-free directional light, ideal for lining out in reduced visibility (within a wreck). Other torches of a similar size to the Micro may be mountable but you should check dimensions first.

Check out for more.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Reefs Go Live returns for new season



CCMI brings the ocean directly to classrooms around the world through live-stream lessons from underwater

In 2018, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) launched Reefs Go Live, their innovative, flagship education programme that live-streams directly from underwater on the coral reefs in Little Cayman to students in classrooms around the world in real time. For the 2022 season, the four episodes of Reefs Go Live reached more than 107,000 viewers in 22 countries. CCMI’s Reefs Go Live team hopes to expand their reach with four new episodes and supplemental teaching resources to help integrate the material into classroom lessons.

Science Communications & Development Manager for CCMI, Beth Chafin, is excited to be part of another year of Reefs Go Live:

“Knowing we have an audience that spans the world, our team is energised as we plan and implement our Reefs Go Live season for 2023! We feel that creating a connection to the ocean and sharing the beautiful coral reefs of Little Cayman with others, both locally and abroad, is one of the most important ways to increase support for critical, timely issues such as marine protection and sustainability. At CCMI, we are fortunate to have these stunning reefs at our doorstep; not everyone is so lucky to be this connected to coral reefs, but healthy coral reefs are vitally important to everyone on earth. Bringing the ocean into classrooms and homes through Reefs Go Live allows us to share the work we do at the Little Cayman Research Centre, facilitate real-time interactions between viewers around the world and our experts in the field, and inspire the diverse audience to take positive action for the future of coral reefs.”

The first episode of 2023 will take place on Friday, 31st March at 10 am Cayman time (UTC -5h). The episode, ‘Finding Hope on our Reefs’, will feature what CCMI’s long-term monitoring of Little Cayman’s reefs shows us. The data from the annual surveys reveals important trends in reef health over time that reflect global threats and the benefits of strong local protection. Reefs Go Live hosts will explain why this annual monitoring is important and what the results tell us about the future of our coral reefs that we all depend upon. Viewers of each episode will be able to ask questions of the diver and participate in polls through the online platform to make Reefs Go Live an interactive experience.

Additional episodes for this year will run at 10 am (UTC -5h) on the following dates:

Thursday, 11th May: Adaptation on Coral Reefs

Wednesday, 24th May: Reef Resiliency & Restoration

Thursday, 8th June: World Ocean Day – 25 Years of Coral Reef Research

Registration for Reefs Go Live is free and is only required once to receive access to all episodes:

Reefs Go Live provides an opportunity for students from all over the world to engage with the stunning ocean environment in its most natural format. As coral reefs around the world face unprecedented pressure, generating increased engagement with these precious ecosystems creates an opportunity to promote marine sustainability in a positive and fun way.

Reefs Go Live utilises streaming technology with underwater video and audio equipment to enable real time broadcasting from Little Cayman’s stunning coral reefs. Little Cayman, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, hosts one of the healthiest reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, which overall remains healthy and shows resiliency to climate change impacts. The broadcasts and education materials draw connections from CCMI’s current research conducted in Little Cayman to the national science curriculum and key ocean literacy principles, making CCMI’s work relevant and accessible to students and viewers of all ages, and emphasizing the relationship that we all have to coral reefs, no matter where we are.

Reefs Go Live is a free education programme that is made possible by the generosity of The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation. To register for the broadcasts and teaching resources, please visit:

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