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Counting DecoBubbles: A Crowdsourcing Initiative For Diving Research

Frauke Tillmans and Virginie Papadopoulou and their team need YOUR HELP counting bubbles! Their goal: to develop an automated algorithm to detect and score venous gas emboli (VGE). It’s a new crowdsourced research initiative from Divers Alert Network (DAN) in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill & NC State University. Welcome to Counting DecoBubbles.

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By Frauke Tillmans and Virginie Papadopoulou
Header image courtesy of the authors

What do DAN researchers do during a pandemic with few diving opportunities? We put the final touches on our new diving research app, of course! The research team at the Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill & NC State University, together with a handful of collaborators worldwide, is proud to present DecoBubbles.com

Venous gas emboli (VGE) are decompression bubbles that are detectable on ultrasound imaging in the blood of some divers for several hours after a dive. Higher loads of VGE are associated with a higher risk of decompression sickness (DCS), but the relationship is not linear. Differences in VGE and DCS risk have been documented among individuals and in the same individual—even with identical dives. Importantly, VGE evolution post-dive varies dramatically, so getting frequent measurements can help us study the influence of VGE on other physiological mechanisms in diving. Toward this goal, we are refining automated algorithms for VGE detection. 

Decompression bubbles counted on post-dive echocardiography can vary drastically between subjects having performed the same controlled pool dive (a – showing each subject as a separate line), and even for the same individual repeating the same dive 24 hours later (b) (plots adapted from Papadopoulou V, et. al. EJAP 2018;118(6):1255-1264).

We have developed an online application where anyone can volunteer their time to help locate bubbles in post-dive echocardiograms. This will help us build robust machine-learning algorithms to automate this task and accelerate the pace of decompression research to improve our understanding of how these bubbles are related to decompression sickness and human physiology. 

This project has also provided training opportunities for the numerous students involved at various stages of the research development. Read on to learn about the first “dive into research” on the part of our lead developer Martin Smolka, a computer science senior at UNC! And be sure to register here to start counting bubbles: DecoBubbles.com.


Creating a Crowdsourcing Research Tool

By Martin Smolka

I am a senior at UNC Chapel Hill where I am finishing my bachelor’s degree in computer science. A year ago, a friend forwarded an email to me about a diving lab that was looking for someone to build a website. I uttered the famous last words, “How hard can it be?”, and sent over my resume. 

App developer Martin Smolka getting wet

Looking back, after working with this team for more than a year now, I find it funny how quickly I found myself in over my head. To this day, the closest I have ever been to diving was when I was 10 years old and angry that the deep end of the local YMCA pool was closed off for diving training. Combine this with the rude awakening that completing a three-month internship at a tech company does not automatically make me an expert web developer, and you can see my dilemma. 

The one thing I did have going for me was that I knew so little, I never knew how in over my head I truly was at any given time. Now, a year later, I am happy to announce that the website is live on Decobubbles.com. Building this site has been the most difficult and most rewarding aspect of my journey to earn my undergraduate degree. 

Decobubbles.com is the latest chapter in my team’s story to personalize decompression procedures. Currently, decompression procedures are successful at reducing the risk of decompression sickness (DCS); however, they follow a one-size-fits-all approach, and cannot predict if an individual diver is likely to develop DCS. While two divers can make the same dive and follow the same decompression procedures, one may develop DCS, and the other will not.

DCS results from decompression bubbles growing during and after the diver ascends to the surface, but the majority of divers with bubbles do not develop DCS. My team, known as “Team Scuba” around the biomedical engineering department, in collaboration with DAN, researches these bubbles and is currently optimizing their detection using ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound imaging is widely used in diving research to detect circulating bubbles post dive; the VGE appear as bright spots moving through the chambers of the heart. We are researching these bubbles because we believe that they can help personalize decompression procedures.  

To study how divers’ physiology responds to dives, we collect multiple ultrasounds of divers’ hearts (echocardiograms or “echos”) for several hours post dive. The reason we take so many echoes is because the amount of decompression bubbles, aka decobubbles, can vary dramatically over time and the dynamics of those changes could offer new information for our research. 

Collecting each echo is relatively easy and takes less than a minute; however, determining how many bubbles are present in an echo is more complicated. While this is a pretty simple process for medically trained personnel, it is difficult to get a cardiologist to review the thousands of ultrasounds one of our experiments can produce. So, Team Scuba began to focus on ways to streamline the process of determining how many bubbles are present in echos.

Former DAN intern George Anderson taking an echo on the boat.

I’m Forever Counting Bubbles

The process of “bubble counting” was developed to easily quantify bubbles on echocardiography. Bubble counting can be done by anyone with relatively little training. While easier, bubble counting started out much slower, taking well over eight minutes to count a 20 second video by hand. This process now takes around three to four minutes thanks to a previous undergraduate student’s work building a computer interface that automates many of the time-consuming aspects of the method. This program has greatly increased the volume of data a given research team can analyze in the context of their own experiments, but is not ideal for sharing the analysis of a large amount of data between people located in different parts of the world. 

This is where my chapter of the story begins. I was brought onto the team to bring the echo rating program to the web for easy sharing and crowdsourcing. Starting out, while I was very excited about working on this project, I was even more excited at the prospect of not being completely broke on the weekends. Then, when I began to start researching what would be necessary to pull off this task, the weight of the task started to crush a good portion of the initial excitement. 

What makes this website much more complicated than the previous rating program is that everything needs to be done through the cloud. Whereas many things, like determining what video to show the rater, and determining who could use the program, were trivial on the old program, I would now have to design systems to run on the cloud to accomplish these tasks. I had never attempted to build systems as complicated as these before, and I had no idea where to even begin. I would spend many hours with a pen and paper just drawing out the process behind the systems, and eventually I would think I had a winner. Then I would spend the next few days implementing the idea and spend the next month finding all the little bugs and mistakes in my strategy. Creating Decobubbles.com was a slow and tedious process, so I am ecstatic that it has finally come together. 

While I spent countless hours learning and implementing new technologies, the most difficult thing by far was creating the tutorial. This was not only difficult for me technically, but also difficult conceptually. It took me a long time to create a system to train and test new raters; however, it took me much longer to actually create the tutorial video. 

When I started creating the tutorial, I naively thought I was a bubble counting expert since I spent hours glancing at echos while I was building the website. I quickly figured out that being able to make out a few bubbles on an echo and having the knowledge to teach someone how to rate an echo were two separate things

When I started creating the tutorial, I naively thought I was a bubble counting expert since I spent hours glancing at echos while I was building the website. I quickly figured out that being able to make out a few bubbles on an echo and having the knowledge to teach someone how to rate an echo were two separate things. I find it very funny that my process to learn how to rate an echo was creating a tutorial to teach others how to rate echos. This had one big benefit, however. I knew what aspects would be confusing to new raters because those aspects were still confusing to me. Then I was able to take those confusing aspects and explain them further in a way that even I, a complete novice, would understand. All in all, I am very happy with how the tutorial turned out and glad to have learned so much through the process. 

The DecoBubbles.com dashboard

The story of personalizing decompression procedures did not start with me; nor will it end with me. In the next chapter, the team will pull the data generated from decobubbles.com to train an artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the echo rating. Automated echo rating would mean that the team can conduct experiments while no longer constrained by the capacity of echo rating and will be able to generate more data than ever before. This data will become a major part of our larger goal to target decompression procedures to individual physiology and could eventually be loaded onto dive computers as personalized algorithms. AI might even be used again to aid in this task because of its ability to find patterns and correlations in large and complex datasets!


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My contribution to this story is quickly coming to an end as the days until my graduation continue to count down. After I graduate, I plan to get a job using the skills I have developed working on Decobubbles.com by writing software. The research environment allowed me to take extra time to learn new technology and to develop as a programmer. 

One great way to learn about echocardiography and aid in research is to log onto decobubbles.com. Each rating that you submit will aid our efforts to better understand DCS and produce personalized decompression procedures.

One great way to learn about echocardiography and aid in research is to log onto decobubbles.com. Each rating that you submit will aid our efforts to better understand DCS and produce personalized decompression procedures. So, help me end my project on a high note by checking out Decobubbles.com today!

Funding:

This crowdsourcing project is funded by the Divers Alert Network (grant #DAN-UNC-1), and analyzed data is being fed into the collaborative project, “Automating the detection of post-dive venous gas emboli” funded by Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (grant #N00014-20-1-2590), bringing together DAN, UNC, Duke and UCSD.


References:

Nishi RY, Brubakk AO, Eftedal OS, Bubble detection, in Bennett and Elliott’s physiology and medicine of diving, A.O. Brubakk and T.S. Neuman, Editors. 2003, WB Saunders: Philadelphia, PA. p. 501-29.

Eftedal OS, Lydersen S, Brubakk aO. The relationship between venous gas bubbles and adverse effects of decompression after air dives. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, 2007. 34(2): p. 99-105. 

Papadopoulou V, Eckersley EJ, Balestra C, Karapantsios TD, Tang MX. A critical review of physiological bubble formation in hyperbaric decompression. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 2013. 191-192: p. 22-30. 

Le DQ, Dayton PA, Tillmans F, Freiberger J, Moon R, Denoble P, Papadopoulou V. Ultrasound in Decompression Research: Fundamentals, Considerations, and Future Technologies. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. 2021;48(1):59-72.

Markley E, Le DQ, Germonpre P, Balestra C, Tillmans F, Denoble PJ, Freiberger JJ, Moon RE, Dayton PA, Papadopoulou V. A fully automated method for late ventricular diastole frame selection in post-dive echocardiography without ECG gating. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. 2021;48(1):73-80.

Papadopoulou V, Germonpre P, Cosgrove D, Eckersley RJ, Dayton PA, Obeid G, Boutros A, Tang MX, Theunissen S, Balestra C. Variability in circulating gas emboli after a same scuba diving exposure. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2018. 118(6): p. 1255-1264. 

Papadopoulou V, Tillmans F, Denoble P. Call for a multicenter study on the intra-subject variability of venous gas emboli. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, 2017. 44(5): p. 377.  

Vann RD, Butler FK, Mitchell SJ, Moon RE. Decompression illness. Lancet, 2011. 377(9760): p. 153-64. 

Sawatzky, K.D., The relationship between intravascular Doppler-detected gas bubbles and decompression sickness after bounce diving in humans, 1991, York University: Toronto, ON.

Papadopoulou V, Lindholm P. An Echo from the past; building a Doppler repository for big data in diving research. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. 2021;48(1):57-58.

Dive Deeper:

Here are some of the DAN research projects in the works:

Comparative Testing of Ultrasound Devices in Monitoring VGE

Exploring Decompression Bubbles Using Advanced Ultrasound Techniques

Freediving and DCS

InDepth: Retired French Naval officer Axel Barbaud and his team have developed an automated bubble scoring algorithm for doppler readings: Oh Deco, Oh Doppler, O’Dive: Assessing the World’s First Personal Deco Safety Tool

InDepth: Everything You wanted To Know About PFOs and Decompression Illness, But Were Too Busy Decompressing to Ask by Dr. Doug Ebersole


Dr. Frauke Tillmans is the Research Director at Divers Alert Network (DAN). She has a PhD in Human Biology and oversees DAN’s research initiatives in injury monitoring and diving physiology, including acute diving injuries, as well as long-term health effects of diving and extreme exposures. Throughout her career she has participated in projects covering a variety of medical aspects in recreational and military diving. An avid and well-travelled diver herself, she has become DAN’s point of contact for global scientific collaborations, including the newest addition, “DecoBubbles”.


Dr. Virginie Papadopoulou is a Research Assistant Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the UNC Chapel Hill & NC State University. Her research aims to bridge the different areas dealing with bubbles in the bloodstream, from environmentally triggered endogenous bubbles, to engineered contrast agents for ultrasound imaging and therapy. She has been awarded the 2017 Divers Alert Network/Bill Hamilton Memorial Grant by the Women Divers Hall of Fame, the 2020 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Young Scientist Award, as well as the title of Divers Alert Network Scholar since 2018, for her on-going work creating a dynamic ultrasonic assessment of decompression bubbles.


Martin Smolka is a Senior at The University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is finishing up his bachelor’s in computer science. Martin has experience with building modern web applications and works as an undergraduate researcher on Dr. Papadopoulou’s team to build and maintain DecoBubbles. He designed and developed the application using Google’s Angular Framework and developed the structure of the database in Firebase.

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Art

GORG GROK

Marine biologist Dr. Sonia Rowley, aka the “Gorg Whisperer” takes us for a deep dive into the life of her octocorallia de désir.

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Text and images by Dr. Sonia Rowley. Header Image: The enigmatic gorgonian Annella Gray, 1858 (left) taken at Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia at 60 m/197 ft depth with Dr. Sonia J. Rowley (pictured right).

At the beginning of 2014, I submitted my Ph.D. thesis on the Gorgonian (sea fan) corals of SE Sulawesi, Indonesia with the following statement: “First and foremost I am indebted to the sea fans themselves, who, through their sheer eloquence connect us to the oceans and wonders of nature; they, are my greatest teachers.” 

Gorgonian corals are some of the most conspicuous and highly diverse creatures in the marine realm. Evocative images of exotic dive locations typically sport colorful fans amidst an array of reef fish. Yet, despite their splendor, this group of corals is remarkably overlooked. Why would this be?

Indonesia, West Papua, Raja Ampat, Misool
Depth: 46 m/151 ft
Max depth: 53 m/174 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 63 mins
Diluent: Air 
G/F: 30/80 
Buddy: Julie Hartup, Micronesian Conservation Coalition
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CC7QK66BWic

Gorgonians, like fish, simply don’t exist, they are not actually a thing! What?!? What does that mean? Gorgonians are within a Class of corals called Octocorallia, ‘octo’ meaning eight; 8 tentacles, 8 divisions within the polyp, all eight! Octocorallia is a monophyletic group, meaning that all the members of this group are related to a common ancestor. However, within Octocorallia, the division is complex and unresolved. Gorgonians are not all closely related to each other. They are polyphyletic; the species that are grouped together do not all come from a common ancestor, yet they all share very similar characteristics (e.g., axis type). In fact, gorgonians are all mixed in with soft corals and sea pens. So, what do we do with a quandary like that? 

Japan, Okinawa
Depth: 36 m/118 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 177 mins
Max depth: 51 m/167 ft
Diluent: 18/36
G/F: 45/80 
Buddy: Sam Mason, Trawangan Diving, Matt Deberry, Dauntless Divers.
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/ChPGWwDu7Ug

This is a species within the soft coral genus Siphonogorgia Kölliker, 1874. It makes an excellent gorgonian, don’t you think? So did its early taxonomists. However, it’s not one. Good ideas emerge many times across nature—just look at wings! The term for this apparent similarity or relatedness in form is convergent evolution, whereby distantly related organisms have independently evolved the same characteristics in response to their environment.

Safety in Numbers

A fascinating part of gorgonian research is teasing apart who’s related to who, and why; how did various adaptations arise, and can the mechanics of their existence be superimposed on their phylogeny—their relatedness, if you will? The use of molecular techniques to corroborate what we see in the field continues to increase our understanding of these enigmatic corals, and strengthens our conviction on how much biodiversity is on a reef. This, in turn, enables regulators to take appropriate conservation measures. Yet, biodiversity assessments and subsequent conservation strategies are essentially human constructs against our own human influence.

Indonesia, West Papua, Raja Ampat, Misool
Depth: 53 m/174 ft
Max Depth: 53 m/174 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 62 mins
Diluent: Air
G/F: 30/80 
Buddy: Julie Hartup, Micronesian Conservation Coalition
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/B_J8uaQhX-x

Nonetheless, the biodiversity in the image below is in safe hands and taken very seriously by nearby communities. Ant Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with local rangers monitoring the atoll day and night. Here, nature’s adaptations can persist as intended, largely uninhibited by our influence. White gorgonians (Melithaea Milne Edwards, 1857) persist in the same habitat as these yellow-coloured black corals (Antipathes Pallas, 1766). Black corals and gorgonians often look very similar, with both coral groups featuring whip, fan, and bush species. With a keen eye, it is possible to determine the difference between the two coral groups and mesophotic depths are the perfect environment to flex those field ID muscles; the closer you look, the more delights you will see.

Federated States of Micronesia, Ant Atoll
Depth: 75 m/248 ft
Rebreather: Poseidon SE7EN
Dive time: 276 mins
Max depth: 122 m/400 ft
Diluent: 7/70
G/F: 45/75 
Buddy: Richard Pyle & Brian Greene, Bishop Museum
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CUMltn-LJoN
Philippines, Calabarzon, Batangas
Depth: 92-141 m/302-463 ft
Rebreather: Poseidon SE7EN
Dive time: 244 mins
Max depth: 141 m/463 ft.)
Diluent: 7/70
G/F: 45/75 
Buddy: Richard Pyle & Brian Greene, Bishop Museum

But, whilst gorgonians don’t exist as entity [or taxonomic/coral group], they do survive, adapt, and persist. Current estimates suggest that less than 4% of global marine ecosystems on the planet are actively protected (i.e., they are not paper parks). The deeper depths are neither isolated nor immune to the vicissitudes of human existence—fishing line, sedimentation, and pollution penetrate them, too. However, time and again gorgonians make it through. Even during my Ph.D. research in Indonesia, I discovered that a shallow water gorgonian turned to coprophagy to survive on reefs degraded by human effluent to the point that the genetic structure of the coral was even changing!

Chemically Well-defended

Many gorgonians have evolved a natural resilience or tactics that facilitate survival in challenging conditions. Not being able to get up and move, sessile (immobile) taxa such as gorgonians get inventive. Many species have a battery of chemicals to ward off unwanted invaders. But, gorgonians develop natural resilience by keeping the right company. Numerous species of Acanthogorgia Gray, 1858 can be very colorful, yet remarkably fragile. Thus, they tend to settle either at the base of larger chemically well-defended gorgonians or other aggressive stinging taxa on the reef, such as hydroids (image below) that pack a serious punch if you get anywhere near them. The gorgonian maintains its glory by sticking close to these knights in chemical armor.

Indonesia, West Papua, Raja Ampat, Misool
Depth: 53 m/174 ft
Max depth: 53 m/174 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 62 mins
Diluent: Air
G/F: 30/80
Buddy: Julie Hartup, Micronesian Conservation Coalition
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/B_YwSUbBHLG

Lone Rangers

Where some corals like to hang together, others prefer to go it alone. The logarithmic beauty of the spiral has evolved several times in gorgonians. Many species of Viminella sp. (pictured below) can be found popping up in seemingly any reef environment and in waters deep to shallow. Their solitary existence has been an evolutionary success.

Papua New Guinea, Kimbe Bay
Depth: 79 m/259 ft
Max depth: 108 m/354 ft
Rebreather: Poseidon SE7EN
Dive time: 297 mins
Diluent: 10/73
G/F: 45/75
Buddy: T. E. Roberts, Tethys Images

Solitary survivors
This rarely encountered, delightfully delicate, and lyre-shaped coral is one that I see only at mesophotic depths. Typically perched upon the crest of old sea-level stands (ancient reefs), this form is likely capitalizing on a prominent position to catch food and attend to reproductive necessities. 

Papua New Guinea, Kimbe Bay
Depth: 83 m/272 ft
Max depth: 108 m/354 ft
Rebreather: Poseidon SE7EN
Dive time: 297 mins
Diluent: 10/73
G/F: 45/75
Buddy: T. E. Roberts, Tethys Images
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CcrVpgIrnIw
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Standing out in a crowd
Some species are all about maximizing space—hundreds of tiny mouths all packed in on the branches, themselves closely aligned. Nothing gets past this natural and highly effective filtration system. When you descend onto a beautiful mesophotic reef and encounter these giants, you know that the water flow is moderate to strong, and its contents rich in particulates. This mighty mouth ensemble is repeated many times in the evolutionary history of any coral group, but few are as ornate as those species within the Primnoidae Milne Edwards, 1857

Japan, Okinawa, unexplored guyot (flat-topped seamount)
Depth: 80 m/262 ft
Max dive depth: 81 m/266 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 174 mins
Diluent: 12/55
G/F: 45/80
Buddy: Sam Mason, Trawangan Diving
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/ChU22pcrxx5
USA, Hawai’i, McCall Seamount
Depth: 1,027 meters/3,370 ft
Rebreather: Pisces submarine, HURL
Dive time: 8 hours
Diluent: Air
Scrubber: Lithium Hydroxide LiOH
Pilot: Max Cramer
Buddy: Michael Garland
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CIZaFCFhZ10

The intrinsic beauty exhibited by the Primnoidae Milne Edwards, 1857 is arguably unparalleled throughout Octocorallia. Typically mesophotic and deep-sea specialists, the ornate structures manipulate the flow in which they live by creating turbulence and momentary retention of water in the polyp mouth (Rowley, unpublished data). A micro-CT scan (with Prof. Adam Summers) of the deep-sea Hawaiian Primnoid Calyptrophora wyvillie Wright, 1885 from the geologist seamount, McCall more than 50 miles southeast of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Sampled at 1,027 meters/3,370 ft depth.

Federated States of Micronesia, Pohnpei Island
Depth: 110 m/361 ft
Max dive depth: 
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 364 mins
Diluent: 8/71
G/F: 30/80
Buddy: Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (Bleeker, 1856)
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/B-I1U6EAOzk

Testing the hypothesis
The use of closed-circuit rebreather technology facilitates extended duration at deeper depths for experimental testing. Here, I am testing the mechanics of flow and feeding on the mesophotic gorgonian Annella Gray, 1858 at 110 m/361 ft. At these depths, internal waves cause huge variances in temperature, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen (to mention but a few variables). Yet, gorgonians couldn’t care less; with a 20°C variance in a single day, they just keep on feeding. Thus, they’ve been permitted to adapt naturally over the millennia, an opportunity not afforded to many of their shallow-water relatives. 

Federated States of Micronesia, Pohnpei Island
Depth of image/gorgonian: 60 m/197 ft
Maximum depth of dive: 95 m/312 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 366 mins 
Diluent: 10/65
G/F: 30/80
Buddy: Nature
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CexQwq1g6EZ

Networking
To test a hypothesis, researchers may need to gather multiple lines of evidence on a variety of taxa. Such sleuthing typically generates more questions and subsequent tests that provide insight into the evolutionary processes at play. The gorgonian Annella Gray, 1858 and its network of branches (anastomoses) is an ideal candidate to develop our understanding of growth patterns and responses to hydrodynamic forces. Interestingly, in one specimen, compensatory growth 6 times that of the annual rate patched up a hole in the network in less than 12 months; nature maintains its structural integrity post disturbance.

Getting it on
Moderate to high flow and surge environments also spread the gorgonian seed. The rarely encountered Hawaiian mesophotic gorgonian, Melithaea bicolor (Nutting, 1908) can also be found nestled amidst many invertebrates of the shallow-water sandstone ceilings and pukas of O’ahu. A beautiful white colony is bursting with eggs, where it is actually possible to observe the eggs moving up and down within the tentacles themselves. Using my rebreather to study this Hawaiian endemic–thought to be found nowhere else in the world–in the shallow’s of O’ahu has allowed me to cut my macro skills in the surge for several hours at a time and develop a critical understanding of their functional morphology, particularly at depth. Thus, a rebreather is an excellent field tool irrespective of depth. 

USA, Hawai’i, Oahu
Depth: 12 m/39 ft
Max depth: 15 m/49 ft
Rebreather: Divesoft Liberty
Dive time: 262 mins
Mix: Air
G/F: 30/80
Buddy: Chrissy & Jason Richards
Image link: www.instagram.com/p/CRtDBduh5fk

When I descend into the ocean in search of these creatures, the true meaning of life comes into perspective, and everything else only facilitates the present moment. That’s it.


Dr. Sonia J. Rowley is a marine biologist; Divesoft Ambassador, Research Associate of the National Museum of Natural History; Fellow National of the Explorers Club (FN18), USA; Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (FLS); and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB), UK. She is the recipient of the Sir David Attenborough Award for fieldwork for her pioneering research on gorgonian octocorals at mesophotic depths. Dr. Rowley has over 38 years of diving and commercial ship experience throughout the world. She sees that the most powerful tool for change is sharing the knowledge and experience gained in the pursuit of scientific understanding and discovery—and to have as much fun as possible doing it while diving.

Disclaimer: All of Dr. Sonia J. Rowley’s diving activities and products thereof are not associated with the University of Hawai’i, nor does Dr. Rowley represent the University of Hawai’i in any way and with regard to any diving activities.”

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