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Shallow-Water Arterial Gas Embolisms

By Joseph Gessert

Q2 2021

Pulmonary barotrauma can occur in a shallow swimming pool if a diver holds their breath during ascent or inadvertently floats to the surface while holding their breath. Most dive-related pulmonary barotraumas occur in compressed-gas diving due to pulmonary overinflation during a breath-hold ascent. Pulmonary barotrauma can occur even with normal breathing if there is an obstruction in the bronchial tree that prevents one lung segment’s normal ventilation.

The Case of Catastrophic Kelp Loss

By Melissa Gaskill

Q2 2021

For more than five years, divers and scientists along the U.S. West Coast have watched a disaster play out before their eyes. Sunflower sea stars fell victim to a wasting disease, which wiped out roughly 90 percent of the global population in 2013. Seven years later, scientists see no signs of recovery. Without the sea stars, the population of purple urchins that sea stars eat has exploded and mowed down entire forests of bull kelp. The West Coast experienced intense ocean warming from 2014 to 2017, and by 2015 divers began seeing urchin barrens — vast swaths covered in piles of spiny creatures and little else.

Looking Into the Lungs

By Frauke Tillmans, Ph.D.

Q2 2021

During medical school Peter Lindholm joined a laboratory researching aviation, space and underwater physiology, where he developed a passion for breath-hold dive physiology, about which he wrote his doctoral thesis. As one of the physicians for the Swedish Sports Diving Federation (SSDF), he was involved in developing breath-hold dive protocols and training the first instructors of competitive breath-hold diving. After clinical training as a radiologist, Lindholm moved to San Diego, California, where he leads a research group focused on dive physiology and dive medicine.

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California’s Squid Run

By Richard Herrmann

Q2 2021

As you drop into water as black as night, thousands of pulsating squid in search of mates suddenly surround you. Mating activity is everywhere as multiple males attack single females. The excited squids’ chromatophores (pigment cells) flash colors reminiscent of a Las Vegas neon sign and put you in the middle of a living, moving light show. The action is so frenetic that animals are in your gear and bounce off every inch of your body.

Know the Risks

By Ivan Yue, Alexander Li, Vivek Abraham and Jasmine Scott

Q2 2021

Nitrogen narcosis can lead to deadly consequences. Understanding the risk factors and ensuring that you and your dive buddies have discussed how to mitigate risk can potentially save lives. If you are stung by a jellyfish, watch for symptoms associated with Irukandji syndrome. If symptoms develop, know that it is a potentially deadly condition that doctors can help treat. Pay attention to local marine life bulletins and announcements. The best ways to mitigate jellyfish envenomation risk are to wear full exposure suits and avoid jellyfish when they are prevalent in the water.

Hand Protection

By Frauke Tillmans, Ph.D.

Q2 2021

Gloves are one of the most overlooked and individualized pieces of dive equipment. When choosing gloves, consider the kind of diving you plan to do and what you expect from your hand protection. When selecting gloves, consider the following factors: thermal protection, fit, dexterity, hazard protection, impact resistance and materials.

COPD: Incompatible With Diving

Q2 2021

Reduced exercise tolerance is common for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and poses risks for diving. There can be strenuous activity involved with managing currents, swimming on the surface in choppy seas or pulling yourself and your heavy gear up a ladder and onto an unsteady boat. With COPD, shortness of breath during exertion doesn’t mean you are out of shape; it means you cannot rid your body of carbon dioxide and replace it with the oxygen needed to meet the demand of your exertion.

Symbiosis on the Sand

By Ned and Anna DeLoach

Q2 2021

Interactions between different species, whether above or below water, typically revolve around confrontations between predators and prey. At the opposite and more harmonious end of the spectrum, a scattering of unrelated species coevolved to form lifelong alliances for their mutual security. These relatively rare go-along-to-get-along partnerships provide a net benefit for both parties, improving each species’ reproductive success. The close living arrangement between weak-eyed alpheid snapping shrimp and sharp-eyed partner gobies is a classic example of symbiosis in the sea.

Exercising After a Break

By Jessica B. Adams, Ph.D., and Jaime B. Adams, M.S., C.S.C.S.

Q2 2021

Sometimes life gets in the way — family obligations, unforeseen injuries, work responsibilities, social events — or perhaps the world as we know it shuts down for a while. When these things overwhelm us, many people tend to sacrifice exercise first. You may miss a few workouts, and then your exercise routine slowly slips from regular to nonexistent. It happens to most people — even fitness experts and professional athletes — at some time. Although it may feel challenging, it is possible to restart your exercise routine.

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