Every year, in March, the Marine Science Group teaches for the University of Bologna the course 37631 “Scientific Diving Laboratory – Diving Techniques for Biological Survey”, for 6 ECTS. The course includes theoretical, practical, and pool lessons, an underwater survey at the sea, a written and an oral test.
Information on the course
In this course the students learn the basic techniques to perform underwater scientific surveys using tanks (air and artificial breathing mixtures enriched with oxygen, namely, Nitrox). Underwater navigation (natural, compass, and underwater sextant) and survey simulations (e.g. using meter ropes, quadrats of known area, and biometric measurements) are performed in the pool to train the student for the survey they will later realize in the sea. The theoretical lessons include underwater diving planning issues with the breathing mixtures air and nitrox, sampling methodologies, and statistical analysis of data. Practical and theoretical concepts also involve the prevention of accidents and the rescue (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and underwater rescue). The course ends with a dive in the sea to realize transects and collect biometric and abundance data of benthic organisms.
Prerequisites for participation to the course:
— Gear personally supplied to each student: Nitrox self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (BC, regulator, tank), compass and underwater sextant, depth gauge, equipment for underwater surveys/transects.
– Other equipment: manikin for cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, electronic analyzer of breathing mixture, lifting bag, and optional semi closed rebreather (SCR, SPACE 40).
Guidelines: taught techniques follow the AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Science), CEN, and ERC guidelines. Certification issue: a certification card in English, in scuba-certification style, to be presented to research and scientific diving international institutes who require it, will be issued after passing the exam.
To enroll: scientificdiving @
– Update of basic exercises.
– Visit to a factory of recreational and technical SCUBA diving equipment and Nitrox tank refill facility.
– Theory of scientific diving and underwater survey.
– Underwater and surface navigation techniques using compass and underwater sextant.
– Realization of transects for surveys on known areas, with meter rope, quadrat, and caliper.
– Theory, planning and practice of Nitrox dives.
– Involvement of volunteer citizens in environmental monitoring.
– The underwater regulator: types, advantages, disadvantages, techniques.
– Lifting bag usage.
– Cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques (CPR).
– Mediterranean fauna and flora and biological popularization.
– Prevention of underwater accidents and underwater rescue.
– Rebreather: breathing without bubbles. The advantage of air recycling.
– Underwater test with the semi closed rebreather (optional).
– Realization of a coral sampling in the sea, statistical analysis of data, and presentation of a final scientific report.