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Scientific Diving Nucleus (SDN)
The SDN started shortly after the creation of the Department and provides required collaboration with both DOP/UAç's and outside research projects, as well as with pedagogic work. The nucleus has collaborated and assisted in underwater work for studies as diverse as the characterization of marine communities, behavioural ecology of territorial fishes, marine habitat protection, littoral fish and cephalopod fisheries, limpet stock assessment and shallow-water hydrothermal vents. Actually, collaboration is given mainly to the MEB Section and Image and Multimedia Nucleus, involving more than 30 researchers (during summer fieldwork) for a total of seven projects.
In order to enable the increasing demand for collaboration, the nucleus has recently been substantially re-organized and has been provided with new, improved premises - now having separate wet, dry, office and repair rooms - and equipment, which include:

  • 1 fixed 250 bar / 300 bar and 2 portable 200 bar compressors
  • tanks and 12 regulators
  • 3 dry suits and several wet suits
  • 1 Scuba Wireless Voice Communication System
  • 3 scooter
  • 4 VHF's
  • 1 shark cage
  • Technical staff has also been expanded, now having 1 technical co-ordinator (professional diver), 1 skipper and 2 technicians.
    The SDN work is mainly carried-out using the SARGO and ÁGUAS VIVAS ships. The first allows most of the fieldwork on the coasts of Faial and Pico Islands. The second permits diving virtually anywhere around the Arquipélago, including the offshore.

    Future improvements will be directed towards equipment and know-how acquisition for deep-dive research. Security is a priority in SDN work, including regular training courses to divers, ship supplied with Oxygen Kits, and easy access to local Hospital hyperbaric chamber.

    For more information please contact the research fellow in charge Jorge Fontes (fontes@horta.uac.pt).

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