Titanium Turtle

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Scientists are taking 3-D Printing to a whole new level. A sea turtle seriously injured in a boating collision has been given the ability to eat again — after receiving a 3D-printed prosthetic jaw.

The endangered loggerhead turtle was hit by a boat propeller while swimming in its natural habitat in Turkey. As a result of its injuries, the turtle was unable to eat on its own, leaving its chances of returning back to the wild looking very slim.

However, a collaboration with BTech Innovation, a Turkish biotechnology company specialising in 3D medical prosthetics, devised an innovative 3D titanium jaw to save the turtle from a lifetime in captivity. Using  CT scans and computer software, they created a 3D model of the turtle’s beak. From that they designed a prosthetic replacement, which was then 3D-printed in medical-grade titanium.The surgery, said to be the first of its kind. Although the turtle is still recovering, initial signs look promising. Apparently, the creature’s body showed no signs of rejecting the implant.

The scientific team plans to release it back into the ocean once again. It’s hoped that this pioneering surgery will be able to help more injured sea turtles in the future and improve their chances of survival.

courtesy of WIRED

 

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Submerged “Lost City” De-Bunked

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A few years ago, divers discovered an apparent underwater “lost city” off the coast of Zakynthos in Greece. New research reveals that the site, which was thought to be the ruins of a long-forgotten civilization that perished when tsunamis hit the shore, is in actuality a geological formation—and a bizarre one at that.

Looking at the photos of these underwater formations, it’s hard to blame the divers for coming up with their initial assessment. These things look wholly unnatural, resembling paved floors, moorings, courtyards, and colonnades.

“The site was discovered by snorkelers and first thought to be an ancient city port, lost to the sea,” said study lead author Julian Andrews from the University of East Anglia. “There were what superficially looked like circular column bases, and paved floors. But mysteriously no other signs of life—such as pottery.”

Well, it was too good to be true. It now appears that this “lost city” never really existed. Researchers from UEA, along with experts from the Department of Geology and Geoenvironment at the University of Athens, recently conducted a mineralogical and chemical analysis of various formations found at the site. In particular, they investigated the mineral content and texture of the underwater formations using microscopy, X-ray, and stable isotope techniques.

“We investigated the site, which is between two and five meters under water, and found that it is actually a natural geologically occurring phenomenon,” said Andrews.

The researchers found that the linear spread of the cement-like structures is likely the result of a subsurface fault which never ruptured the surface of the sea bed. This fault allowed gases, including methane, to seep up from deep below the Earth’s surface.

“Microbes in the sediment use the carbon in methane as fuel. Microbe-driven oxidation of the methane then changes the chemistry of the sediment forming a kind of natural cement, known to geologists as concretion,” explained Andrews. “In this case the cement was an unusual mineral called dolomite which rarely forms in seawater, but can be quite common in microbe-rich sediments. These concretions were then exhumed by erosion to be exposed on the seabed today.”

The strange formations were created up to five million years ago, and are quite rare in such shallow waters. Similar structures, say the researchers, tend to be hundreds and often thousands of meters deep underwater.

Originally posted by George Dvorsky on Gizmodo.com

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A CDN Shore Dive Refresher

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In anticipation of our upcoming Earthday Shore dive on April 22nd, please check out this link to a great article in California Diving News from our friend Dale Scheckler. His tips for diving the California shoreline cover training, planning and execution of successful, low-stress dive strategies that’ll be helpful to both veterans and newbies alike! Let’s face it, even the most accomplished California diver has taken a few tumbles in the surf dues to miss-reading area conditions. Be ready!

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Help Is On The Way

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Among the many exhibits at the California Science Center is a 180,000 aquarium. The health of this tank is dependent on a large crew of aquarists, veterinarians, and volunteer divers. As of this moment, 6 Barnacle Busters are members of the dive team and we’re always looking for more. The minimum certification level at CSC is Rescue diver, so, when I was asked by volunteers and staff at the aquarium to teach a Rescue Class, I agreed.

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It was a struggle. After 6 years, Mother Nature decided to break her drought just in time to weather us out weekend after weekend. While we welcome the rain, it could have waited another week! Anyway, these patient students got their open water dives in bit by bit, and completed certification in mid March. Whew. They have all completed their required skill evaluations and swims for the Science Center and are ready to dive!!

And many thanks to Bob Woods, who played a convincing victim, although why he insisted on continuous mouth-to-mouth is beyond me.

I feel these divers are now better prepared to not only help others but to take care of themselves in stressful situation. Congratulations to Crystal Gentle, Billy Vaughn, Mark Yun, and Matthew Bokach. We’ll be running another Rescue Class in the summer, so get your name on the list if interested.

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Cozumel: Qué Aventura

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The recent Barnacle Buster club trip to Cozumel was an amazing adventure to say the least. The flight home was a rough return to reality and in stark contrast to the rest of the trip, but it didn’t matter. We were still flying high from diving in Cozumel.

Seven days earlier . . .

For Thomas and me, Cozumel was a series of firsts: first time to Cozumel, first night dive, first time swimming with an octopus, first time seeing a Splendid Toad Fish, first dive spotting a Seahorse, first fresh water dive, first time diving through caves . . . well, you get the point.

Continue reading “Cozumel: Qué Aventura”