It would be hard to imagine a forest ecologist who has never seen a forest. In the aquatic sciences, however, a scientist who has never visited the actual environment they study is more of a rule than an exception. The research group of Professor Anna Kuparinen at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science aims to change this odd situation. Kuparinen and her PhD student Pauliina Ahti dive deeper into their research environment, quite literally.
Last year the first scientific diving course at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science was held after a long break. The course introduced the most commonly used underwater data collection methods in Finland, and allowed the students to practice them underwater.
The long haul plan is to integrate scuba diving into the marine biologists’ and aquatic biologists’ tool box permanently. To facilitate this, a couple of JYU scientific divers from Anna Kuparinen group were recently training closed circuit rebreather (CCR) diving with KTD Malta –divers in Malta, where different types of dive sites can easily be accessed from the shore.
Just like any fieldwork, diving requires seamless teamwork.
CCR diving enables biologists to move around their research environment quietly, without bubbles or other noises scaring the fish and small critters. CCR diving also allows for relatively safer, longer, deeper, and cheaper dives, as the breathing gases are not wasted on exhalation.
Integrating diving into the scientist’s tool box is a key to nationally and internationally unique research projects. In the future, Professor Anna Kuparinen’s research group aims to gain a deeper understanding of aquatic ecosystems and dive deeper into the world of burbot spawning and vendace behaviour, for instance. Doing so also helps to push Finnish scientific diving to international standards.
Without proper dive equipment and training, explorative research beneath the surface would not be possible, and all research would have to be based on already existing, incomplete data. Therefore, scientific diving quite literally allows the scientist to dive into unexplored waters.
Pauliina Ahti held a scientific diving course at the Department of Biological and Environmental Science last year. If you would like to find out more about scientific diving or the scientific diving course, please contact the instructor Pauliina Ahti (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Watch also the introductory video from course at Konnevesi in YouTube.
Subscribe to the JYUnity newsletter
Get latest articles from The University of Jyväskylä’s stakeholder magazine into your email. You can cancel your subscription at any time.