"Solar Powered" Sea Slugs (ZOOm speaker)
Michael Middlebrooks, Ph.D., is an invertebrate zoologist and an advocate for the tiny wonders of the animal kingdom. He is an avid scuba diver and passionate about underwater exploration. His enthusiasm for sharing the world of micro-fauna is evident in his talks about the small but spectacular snails, shrimp, and sea slugs that make up a just a fraction of the underwater animal kingdom. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Tampa where he teaches hands-on courses in Invertebrate Zoology, Global Sustainability, and Coral Reefs. His classes feature photographs of marine invertebrates that he has taken during his adventures in underwater exploration around the world.
In Dr. Middlebrooks’ academic research, he uncovers the intricate relationships that colorful “lettuce” sea slugs have with the food they eat. Specifically, he focuses on the behaviors of photosynthetic or “solar powered” sea slugs which can steal chloroplasts from the algae they eat and store them inside of their own cells to make energy. Dr. Middlebrooks also conducts research on seagrass restoration and examines the animal communities that live in, and depend on, seagrass beds.
Upcoming trips 2024:
I hope everybody is enjoying their summer, but be aware that we are entering the most active portion of the hurricane season. Please double check your Hurricane Plan and be prepared since it is projected as an active season.
Local diving is in full swing with many options available, please sign up and join the club out diving. Please keep an eye on upcoming dives and join in if you are inclined. It is always a lot of fun catching up on the boat and having lunch afterward with friends.
Just a reminder that we have a September membership meeting with a Zoom speaker. The subject is Solar Power Sea Slugs. We all enjoy finding different nudibranchs while diving, so I personally look forward to learning more about them.
It is that time of year again for Board of Director elections, the Board is proposing the following slater of electors
Reminder: The BoD has voted to rescind the requirement to have a valid COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend a USA function. We hope this allows some members to come and join us at our meetings. The only exception is overseas travel, trips will comply with the local requirements.
Greetings From The Hospitality Hut,
I am pleased to report at the August general meeting two first-time guests were in attendance.
Thank you to Russ Manhold for introducing Brent Harder, and his lovely wife, Juliana Palou to the club.
Brent was certified in 1973 and is a Dive Instructor. He was first certified in West Virginia and has way too many dives to count. Brent enjoys all aspects of diving such as spearfishing, photography, diving walls and wrecks and of course a relaxing drift dive to sightsee all the underwater bounty.
Brent's wife, Juliana, is a Master Diver, certified in 2015 and has logged 180 dives. She enjoys looking into the deep blue for the large pelagic underwater wonders. Juliana would like to dive in the Maldives with her favorite dive buddy, Brent.
I encourage you to visit our home page www.usadiveclub.org. Please click on the calendar and keep up to date on all the diving and non-diving scheduled activities. You may also take a look at the photo gallery and take a peek at past events.
I wish you all Happy Diving
This article represents the views of the author. The article has not been fact checked by myself, the Board of Directors or any member of the USA Dive Club.
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A BUDDY'S BEST EFFORT FAILS
By Jon Hardy
Setting the Stage
Ed.'s note: The incidents described here are real. Names of locations and people have been changed or deleted.
Joe and Mac went through the same open-water certification course and buddied for all of their post-certification dives. Shortly after, the dive store that offered their diving course and supplied their rental equipment sponsored a boat diving trip, with their instructor serving as divemaster and coordinator.
On the first day of the trip, Joe and Mac dived with their instructor Fred on two wrecks in the 70- to 90-foot range. Both dived in a safe and conscientious manner. For the next dive day, Joe and Mac asked Fred to let them dive on their own, which he willingly agreed to.
The next morning, Mac appeared to be congested and to have an upset stomach; he may have taken some non-prescription medication. The boat ride out to the dive site was smooth, the water clear and calm. Joe and Mac made their own plan to dive the wreck. Fred approved the plan and they were on their way with no sign of stress or difficulty.
Joe and Mac descended with ease. At the base of the mooring, around 80 feet, they adjusted their buoyancy and swam the wreck, side by side. After a very short time, Mac stopped suddenly. Joe swam close to check Mac's condition. Mac reached for Joe's octopus, was handed it by Joe, and took two or three deep breaths. Joe then took hold of Mac and started swimming to the mooring line. As he did, the octopus fell from Mac's mouth and Joe replaced it. This happened twice. Joe now realized that Mac was in serious trouble, added air to his own BC and ascended, while holding onto Mac. They ascended quickly, but under control, not pausing for a safety stop. At the surface, Joe raised his hand and yelled. Immediately divers from one of the other dive boats helped pull Mac on board, began giving CPR, and then raced to shore. An ambulance transferred Mac to a hospital where he was pronounced dead from a combination of air embolism and drowning.
Legal Action and Analysis
Mac's family sued the dive store and the instructor. Their claims against the store and instructor included renting defective equipment, providing improper training, keeping poor records, diving beyond 60 feet and failing to provide direct supervision.
During the discovery process and subsequent trial, some of the realities of recreational diving were clarified:
We will never know what actually happened to Mac, but it was clear some medical condition caused him respiratory distress and did not allow his airway to equalize on the way to the surface. There is nothing a rescuer can do to open another diver's airway while under water. If a diver is not breathing, the best course of action is to get to the surface with all deliberate speed. The dive store was dropped from the case, and the jury found in favor of the defendant instructor.
Lessons for Life
For me, Labor Day brings back memories of the beginning of the school year. But Labor Day is much more than that. It's an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers, and you may even get the day off. Whatever your plans, we wish you a very happy and safe day.
For divers, September brings back the goliath groupers. These huge fish have love on their minds. Actually, they congregate in August and will continue this behavior until October. At times they gather in large groups of 100 or more to spawn - it's called the goliath grouper aggregation. It's a great reason to join the USA Dive Club. We have a trip each year to try and catch the groupers getting down to business.
We have very active overseas and local diving programs and, although this year's overseas diving is over, Nils Jacobsen, VP of Overseas Diving, is hard at work on the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Ryan Goheen, VP of Local Diving, will keep his program going strong through October. Ryan, along with USA's year-round divers, will continue diving together through the winter months.
Just to keep things interesting, from time to time we'll come up with a non-diving event. Guests are welcome to attend all of our functions.
What are you waiting for? It's simple to join us. From our Home page just click "JOIN US" and follow the easy-to-understand instructions. Even better, visit us at one of our meetings. We meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Aloft Hotel, Delray Beach. We'd enjoy meeting you.
As always, we invite you to browse through our extensive Photo Gallery to take a look at our social and diving activities.
Overseas Dive Trips
Bonaire Trip Report: June 24 - July 1, 2023
Our group of 21 USA Divers enjoyed the gorgeous teal blue water of Bonaire while at Divi Dive Resort. As nature lovers we found delight in the great ocean views, beautiful landscaping, colorful butterflies and busy humming birds on the premises. We had sunny weather, reasonable seas, and yummy breakfasts along with helpful and experienced boat crew who graciously let us have a significant say in our destinations, which was much appreciated.
In the afternoon/ evening we took advantage of our afternoon boat dive / shore dives on our own time schedule. Some chose to relax around the pool while others did so at the beach front bar, the casino or on tours to see the salt flats, flamingos, caves and donkey preserves. Short walks into town let us enjoy the the local restaurants. Some favorite spots were the Umbrella, At Sea (best oysters ever), It Rains Fishes, Mezze, and C'est La Vie.
USA's Lobster Pot drawings Include CASH prizes, and a variety of PRIZES donated by Sponsors or Club Members.
Funds from ticket donations help to support our many club activities. Congratulations to all our Lobster Pot participants. Be sure to visit our Local dive shops who support us and say 'Thanks'.
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