Mission & Goals

The mission of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) is to advance and facilitate safe and productive scientific diving. The AAUS was officially chartered in California in 1983 by individuals and organizations involved in the effort to obtain the scientific diving exemption from OSHA commercial diving standards. In the years since, the AAUS has expanded from the original six organizational members to more than 130 organizational members and over 1100 individual members. Organizational membership includes colleges and universities, government agencies, museums and aquaria, environmental and archaeological consulting firms, and community science groups sharing a common thread of the use of diving as a research tool and a commitment to the health and safety of scientific divers. AAUS produces consensual standards for the training and certification of scientific divers and the operation of scientific diving programs, maintains statistics detailing scientific diving activities and incident rates, conducts annual symposia and topical workshops, and directly supports student research.

In the Spotlight

Together for Continuity into the Second Century of a Coral Transect

By Charles Birkeland

Over a decade before the Great Barrier Reef Expedition of 1928-1929, Alfred Mayor of the Carnegie Institute did a number of studies from 1917 to 1920 of the growth, ecology and distribution of corals in American Samoa. One of his studies in Spring 1917 was to quantify the distribution and diversity of corals along a 267-m transect off the village of Aua in Pago Pago Harbor. His accurate description of the transect included photographs and a map which allowed locating the transect in the future. The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey placed permanent markers at the two ends of the transect which has been resurveyed 9 times over the past century. Read More...

Current Organizational Members

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Organizational members comprised of both US and International members in Academia, Aquariums, Government and Consulting firms.


Scientific dives logged by members since 1998

0.324 per 10,000 dives

DCI rate for AAUS divers, 1/10 that of recreational divers


Scholarship money given out since 1996


Amount of science dollars supported by AAUS diving in the last 5 years

Contact Us

American Academy of Underwater Sciences
Heather Albright – Operations Manager
PO Box 9067
Mobile, AL 36691-9067



Support the Foundation

The AAUS Foundation is a 501c3 charity that provides internships and scholarships to students who utilize scientific diving as a research tool or study scientific diving. Partner with us as we help fund up and coming diving scientist!
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