AAUS Awards

Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented biennially to an individual from the scientific diving community who has made a significant contribution in advancing underwater science and technology. Open to anyone in the scientific diving community. Nominations from the AAUS general membership. Voted and approved by the Past Presidents of AAUS and Past Award recipients. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office.  Note:  Prior to 2017, this award was offered annually.  As of 2017, this award is being offered every two years in rotation with the Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership.  

2017 Awardee:  John S. Pearse
The 2017 American Academy of Underwater Sciences recipient of the Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement award is John S. Pearse. Dr. Pearse is a Professor Emeritus of Biology and Research Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California in Santa Cruz. John graduated from the University of Chicago, Zoology, BSc. in 1958, and Stanford University, Biology, Ph.D. in 1964. His professional appointments include the American University of Cairo, Egypt, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena and University of California, Santa Cruz. Pearse is an expert on marine invertebrates with a focus on their reproductive biology and role in the rocky intertidal and kelp forest ecosystems. He has done important research along the California coast and at sites ranging from Antarctica to Japan. Although he retired in 1994, he continues to teach, conduct research, and write as a professor emeritus affiliated with UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). He founded and continues to work with high school students to monitor the intertidal through the Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS).

Pearse revised the classic invertebrate zoology textbook Animals Without Backbones and wrote another, Living Invertebrates, first published in 1987. He has more than 140 published peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes and has served on the editorial board of many journals ranging from Science to Marine Biology to the Encyclopedia of Reproduction and many more.  John has served as president of the California Academy of Sciences, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Western Society of Naturalists and the International Society of Invertebrate Reproduction.

He has many honors and awards, such as the Antarctic Service Award; University of California, Santa Cruz, Alumni Distinguished Teacher Annual Award; Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; International Society of Invertebrate Reproduction, Life-time Membership Recognition Award; Western Society of Naturalists, Lifetime Achievement Award; Odontaster pearsei, Antarctic sea star named by Janosik and Halanych and much more.

As a visiting faculty member at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University he taught a 5-week "Special Projects" course with near daily dives in the kelp forest there in the summer of 1971. That was a student projects course that resulted in the "A Kelp Forest as a Classroom" report on file at Hopkins. That morphed into the Neritic Ecology, then the Kelp Forest Ecology course that he taught at UCSC nearly every fall quarter from 1972 to 1993. He has mentored >100 undergraduate senior theses, 25 masters’ students, 17 doctoral students, and 5 postdoctoral students.

Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership

Presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution in diving safety and diving leadership on behalf of the scientific diving community. Open to any active member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Nominated and voted upon by the AAUS general membership. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office. Note: Beginning in 2016, this award is being offered every two years in rotation with the Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award. 

2018 Awardee:  Michael Dardeau

Beginning as a sport diver in NW Florida in 1970, I qualified as a scientific diver in 1978, shortly after becoming a graduate student at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.  Operationally, I have served as a dive team leader since the early 1980’s and Diving Safety Officer for the DISL Diving Control Board since the early 1990’s.  I oversaw most day to day diving operations, equipment purchase and maintenance, scientific diver training, small boat training and operations and ensured compliance with American Academy of Underwater Sciences standards.  Appointed to the AAUS board of directors in 2004, I served under six presidents as Statistics Chair and Treasurer.  Before retiring in 2015, I spent most of my 33 years at DISL as supervisor of technical support and vessel operations.

First licensed as an EMT-Basic in 1981, I served as Emergency Medical Coordinator for Dauphin Island Fire and Rescue for 2 years and as a volunteer medic for another 10 years.  I also worked part-time for 2 years as a Flight Paramedic for Southflite, USA and for another 10 years as an Industrial Paramedic. The part-time positions helped to maintain certification as a Diving Medical Technician Paramedic between 1984 and 2014.

During my career as a marine scientist, I contributed to over 40 publications including a taxonomic monograph on coral reef shrimp, characterizations of hard bottom communities in the Gulf of Mexico, natural history studies of temperate gorgonians and analyses of AAUS annual statistics. I also chaired Technical Advisory Committees for the local National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Estuary Program and received over $1 million in extramural funding to construct and support coastal observing systems in Alabama.

AAUS Service Awards

AAUS Service Awards are presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Academy.  Distinguished service awards are presented to an individual board member of the Academy whom has provided outstanding service to AAUS and its mission.  Awards are presented at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office.  

Current Awardees