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FGCU research students go underwater to take scuba certification to the next level

Students at Florida Gulf Coast University are learning how to do research underwater while scuba diving.

The university is known for researching issues that happen in our own backyard, but in order to get out there, students first have to get their feet wet, in a pool.

Calli Johnson is a dive safety officer and scientific diving course instructor at FGCU, She says, “We’re doing a really, really simple introduction to technical diving here in the pool.”

Don’t mistake this for a pleasure diving course, for these students it’s all about scientific research.

“This is our gear that we’re using that we also use to go out in the Gulf and take samples for red tide,” Johnson explained. “We’re trying to figure out where exactly it’s coming from and how exactly it’s developing.”

But to do that, they need to practice in a pool.

These students learn how to install equipment like traps that can catch red tide organisms for research.

James Javaruski is a graduate student at The Water School at FGCU. He says, “I want to go down and core underwater. So, we take these aluminum tubes, and we push them into the ground, and we can look at how red tides have occurred in the past.”

All of the students already have their entry-level certification for scuba diving.

The goal for the end of this course is for students to receive their authorization with the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, which will then help their research for water issues here in Southwest Florida.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
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