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Intellectual Merit: The UCSB marine laboratory supports the largest research diving program in the United States with faculty and students conducting National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research across a variety of campus departments including: Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB), Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB), Geography, Geology, Physics, and Engineering as well as the Marine Science Institute, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and the Earth Research Institute. An upgraded SCUBA air compressor that provides air and nitrox gas will dramatically increase the safety of the campus diving program, produce more educated and capable research divers and increase the efficiency of research by allowing for longer bottom times and shorter surface intervals between research dives. Nitrox diving requires added training in physiology, safety, and equipment. Having this resource available allows the campus diving program to increase its level of American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) diver training above industry standards as well as improve our training collaborations with other educational institutions.
Broader Impacts: The UCSB marine diving community that will be supported by the new SCUBA compressor collaborates with local non‐profits, educational institutions, county and state authorities, and community outreach organizations. Providing a safer and more accessible research diving program at UCSB through upgraded equipment has far reaching effects on a local, regional, and even global scale. Research divers work in a myriad of specialties that include ocean acidification, kelp forest ecology, biomaterials, fisheries, management and sustainability. The lab also provides resources to visiting researchers, both domestic and foreign, and contributes to a multitude of education and outreach programs as far reaching as Japan. As the scientific world evolves the UCSB marine lab and diving program continues to stay at the forefront helping to support new and often logistically difficult research programs.