News & Announcements

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LUMCON AAUS Summer Field Course

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium will be offering a two-week scientific diver field course July 27- August 07, 2020. It has been developed to meet AAUS standards for scientific diver accreditation within research or academic programs. The course is open to the public and researchers needing scientific diver training. The course will meet 8-10 hours daily during the two week period and will include academic course work and testing, pool training in emergency response and diving techniques, and a least 12 dives aboard LUMCON research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Diving will be focused on techniques for diving in inshore low visibility conditions, and offshore open ocean structures in the Gulf of Mexico. Participants are required to reside at LUMCOM during the course and must complete all course prerequisites before arrival. Cost is $2500 all inclusive, except for transportation to and from LUMCON. An application and list of prerequisites can be requested by email to or or at

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AAUS BOD Call for Nominations

The 2020 AAUS Nominating Committee is now accepting for consideration nominations of individual members to stand for the President-elect and Director-at-large (1) positions on the AAUS Board of Directors. The elected Director-at-Large will serve a three-year term and the President-Elect will serve a one-year term followed by two years as President and one year as Past-President. An electronic poll will open on May 01 and close June 30, 2020. Qualified candidates must be full voting members in good standing with the AAUS. The nomination letter (not to exceed 300 words) is best focused on how a particular candidate can contribute to the Academy based on their academic or diving safety contributions, or previous development of not-for-profit organizational governance experience.

Please submit your nomination letter, no later than March 30, 2020, to any one of the five AAUS Nominating Committee members:
• Marc Slattery, Chair (
• Mike Anghera (
• Narineh Nazarian (
• Robbie Christian (
•Robert Reavis (

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Sherry Anne Reed (1959-2019)

Sherry passed away gracefully and peacefully, December 16, 2019. Sherry landed her first marine science job at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., assisting with curating the octopus and mollusk collections. In 1983 Sherry was hired as a Research Assistant to help with the Visiting Scientist Program at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida (SMSFP). She headed field operations and served as Diving Officer for the Smithsonian Marine Station until her promotion to Station Manager in 2015. Sherry is known to many people for her work with countless scientists who conducted research at SMSFP over her 36-year career at the Smithsonian. She was a dedicated professional, always providing the best field and laboratory research support possible. As SMSFP Dive Officer, she worked for many years on the Smithsonian Diving Control Board and supervised hundreds if not thousands of scientific research dives throughout Florida, Belize and the Caribbean. Sherry was a member of a number of professional organizations. She served on the Board of Directors of both the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and the International Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF), the latter of which she was inducted into in 2002. She has been described by her friends and coworkers as "the sweetest and most hard-working woman" and the "heart of the Smithsonian Marine Station." She will be greatly missed.

The family requests that donations to honor Sherry's memory and legacy may be made to continue the WDHOF "Sherry Reed Undergraduate Marine Conservation/Marine Biology Scholarship". Full obituary can be found here.

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Northeast DSO Meeting

The NEDSOs will meet once again for an informal gathering on Sat., March 7, 2020 at the Boston SeaRovers show. This meeting is free for any NEDSOs and affiliates who wish to attend. Please contact Chris Rigaud at to 'register' and provide any agenda items. Please see the Boston SeaRovers website for venue and hotel information.

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2020 AAUS OM Renewals

In 2020 our OM renewal process will consist of 3 processes; Dues payment, Code of Ethics agreement and Statistics submission. The OM will not be considered in compliance until all 3 steps have been completed. Full instructions can be found in the resource library under website instructionals.

OM Dues – OM DSOs and Company Admins can print an invoice and pay via credit card on the website. Instructions attached. Alternatively, OMs can print an invoice online and mail in a check to the address listed below. Note: You will not have full access to your OM profile until your dues are paid. PO Box 9067 Mobile, AL 36691-9067

Code of Ethics Agreement – In 2019 the AAUS BOD rolled out a Code of Ethics (COE) for AAUS DSOs. In 2020 AAUS is requiring that all DSOs agree to the COE. You can access the agreement portal and a link to the COE on the home page (top center) of the OM profile. Simply click the pencil tool and check the box agreeing to the COE.

Statistics Submission - Instructions on submitting statistics are attached and can also be found on the website under Members/ Resource Library/ Website Instructionals. It is strongly recommended that you fill in the blank template by hand and manually check your totals before attempting to submit your stats. Inputs are error checked and you may get a message that your totals do not agree if you do not put a value in EVERY box (zero where appropriate). Please do not include any dives that do not meet AAUS standards, i.e. recreational dives accepted by the DCB as proficiency dives. The blank template and the AAUS statistics collection criteria and definitions may be found on the Members menu/ Statistics/ Submission Info after login or in the DSO Community in the Statistics folder (see Communities instructions for access). Both accesses require member login. Please feel free to contact the Statistics Chair ( with any questions concerning statistics or incident reporting. Statistical summaries are considered late on (and after) 01 April.

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Code of Ethics Agreement

In 2019 the AAUS BOD rolled out a Code of Ethics (COE) for AAUS DSOs. In 2020 AAUS is requiring that all DSOs agree to this Code of Ethics. You can access the agreement portal and a link to the COE on the home page (top center) of the OM profile. Simply click the pencil tool and check the box agreeing to the COE.

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Treasurer's Challenge

For many years, the AAUS operated as a collective of like-minded individuals and organizations whose most significant financial commitment was the annual symposium. Times have certainly changed. AAUS now needs to employ a full-time Operations Manager to meet the demands of everyday business, and we have been endeavoring to provide an ever-increasing array of products and services requested by our members.

In order to maintain and improve the services we provide in a world of ever-increasing expenses, AAUS must increase revenue. We began with an OM dues increase in 2019 which helped offset the expense of a new community database and website, and in 2020 we will embark on an Individual Membership drive to support future initiatives. It is our hope that all current Organizational and Individual members will rally their fellow scientific divers, diving students, and colleagues to begin and maintain Individual Memberships with the Academy. Remember that AAUS Individual Membership is independent of status as an AAUS Scientific Diver at an OM Program, and costs only $50/ year.

For those who are DSOs and/or DCB members, many have likely enjoyed 'sponsored' Individual Memberships in the Academy for the duration of their affiliation with our Organizational Member programs. If you are in that category, please take a moment to consider what you have gained from this community over those years, the personal and professional connections you have made during that time, and what it might mean to you in future years. Is that worth $50/year, or $1/week to you? If so, join me in paying back AAUS for those years and paying it forward for the future.

Beginning in January 2020, I challenge all Diving Safety Officers and Diving Control Board Members to join me in becoming not just Individual Members for a year but, Lifetime Members of the Academy. Let's lead by example and get the 2020 IM Membership Drive off to a running-start. Even if only 50 of you pledged alongside me, these one-time payments of $500 per Lifetime Membership would generate $25,000 in revenue for the Academy. Please join me in demonstrating your historical and ongoing commitment to our community and this profession and establish your legacy as a Lifetime Member and supporter of AAUS.

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2021 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium Host

AAUS is now accepting proposals for spring 2021 symposium hosts! We have shifted our annual meeting schedule to the spring and therefore will not have an annual meeting in 2020. However, we will be choosing a host for our spring 2021 meeting in February 2020. If your organization is interested in hosting, please contact the AAUS office ( for proposal guidelines. All proposals must be received by December 31, 2019.

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2020 AAUS Certification Program Renewals

Attention AAUS Instructors! It is time for your annual AAUS-ITI Instructor Renewal. Please note that this only applies to AAUS Instructors and OM Programs who have chosen to participate in the voluntary certification card program. You must renew annually as an Instructor with International Training (ITI) to maintain status as an AAUS Instructor and be able to register and certify AAUS divers. All renewal forms and instructions are in the AAUS Instructor community resource library. Instructors may access them by logging in at, go to the ‘Members’ tab, ‘Member Profile’. Once at your profile, go to the ‘Participation’ tab and the ‘Communities’ header. Select the ‘AAUS Instructors’ community which will take you to a list of all participating AAUS Instructors. Select the ‘Resource Center’ on the right-hand menu-bar and all documents are in the ‘2019 Renewal’ folder.

STEP 1- AAUS Instructor Renewal Paper renewal - Complete the Instructor Renewal Form and submit the annual instructor renewal fee ($210) via mail. You may have received a renewal package in the mail. Online renewal - If you prefer to renew online at a reduced cost ($175) you may complete this process on the ITI website ( To do so, login to your Instructor Profile, and then choose ‘Tools’, ‘Renew Membership’ from the menu bar. Complete the necessary information and submit the annual instructor renewal fee online with a credit card. Online renewal fee increases after Dec. 15 ($200).

STEP 2- AAUS Facility Renewal AAUS Facilities- as an AAUS instructor you must submit a paper Facility Renewal Form if you are the primary instructor/facility administrator at your AAUS facility. A Facility Fee is not required for AAUS Facilities; you may indicate this in the payment field. Submit this form via mail, fax, or scan and send as a pdf to ( with "AAUS Facility Renewal" in the subject line.

NOTE- the online Facility Renewal process is not available to AAUS Facilities; AAUS Facilities that renew online will be charged a Facility Renewal Fee. AAUS Facilities should instead complete the paper Facility Renewal Form as instructed above.

STEP 3- SDI/TDI Facility Renewal If you are an AAUS instructor and your Facility is also an SDI/TDI Training facility, you must submit a separate Facility Renewal Form for that SDI/TDI training facility, and a Facility Fee for that SDI/TDI facility.

Specific questions regarding the annual renewal process or online interface should be directed to ITI. General questions about the AAUS Certification Program should be directed to the AAUS Certification program coordinator (Chris Rigaud, or the AAUS office (Heather Albright,  

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2019 AAUS Foundation Report

In 2019 the AAUS Foundation disbursed $13,407 in scholarship funds, including first place and runner‐up awards for both doctoral and master candidates, the Dr. Lee H Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Training Internship, the Mitchell AAUS Scientific Diving Internship, a Best Student paper award, and a Kevin Flanagan Student Travel award. An additional $24,175 was utillized to revamp the Foundation website and assist with the AAUS websites upgrade.

The annual donation drive at the Vancouver Symposium, combined with efforts earlier in the year, raised $28,831 for scholarships. A challenge grant from one of our own DSOs made 2019 a near record year for fundraising. Bill Powers matched the first $5000 raised by the foundation with $5000 of his own, effectively doubling many donations. Please continue to give generously because, with the Symposium moving to spring of 2021, there will be no opportunity for one on one fundraising in 2020.

Information on the AAUS Foundation, opportunities to make tax deductible donations (just one more month left in 2019) and purchase Symposium prints may be found at

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2020 AAUS Scientific Diving Internship

2020 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2020 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship. Intern applicants must be students from colleges and universities and must have an interest in science and diving. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will include training at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. This training will give the intern the necessary dive qualifications to allow participation on research projects requiring scientific diving and introduce the intern to careers that utilize scientific diving as a tool. Once trained as an AAUS-recognized diver-in-training, interns will participate in underwater field work at one or more locations and research facilities associated with the AAUS. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is January 15, 2020. For more information and to apply visit

2020 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2020 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship. This internship is intended to be research-centric; therefore, training and certification as an AAUS Scientific Diver is a prerequisite and all applicants must be undergraduate students. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will be hosted at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is January 15, 2020. For more information and to apply visit:

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AAUS Foundation Scholarship Awards 2019

The AAUS Foundation offers competitive research scholarships to both doctoral-level students and master-level students who utilize scientific diving as a principal research tool or study scientific diving. First place awards for both program levels are $3000; second place awards are $1500. A total of 37 proposals were reviewed. Proposals ranged from Antarctic to tropical studies and spanned disciplines from organismal biology to archaeological resource management. Special thanks to the 17 reviewers, and best wishes to all who participated. If you know of a student who could benefit from an AAUS graduate scholarship you can direct them to the Foundation website for more details. Next year's round of proposals will be due on June 30, 2020.
Doctoral-level Awards
1st place Gabriele Keeler-May, University of Otago Distribution and analysis of Undaria pinnatifida haplotypes in New Zealand harbors and a control project to assess effects of large-scale removal on native kelp communities.
2nd place Katelyn Gould, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Coral Restoration Transplantation and Conservation Genetics Approach: Implications for Orbicella annularis in the Florida Keys
Honorable Mention
Joseph Klein, University of California, Santa Cruz
Master-level Awards
1st place Max Liebergesell, San Diego State University Investigating predation on purple urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) within kelp forests and urchin barrens
2nd place Demetra Panos, California State University, Northridge Community contribution to benthic biogeochemical variability in kelp forests
Honorable Mentions
Rachel Best, Florida State University
Liv Wheeler, University of Hawaii
Find out more about the AAUS Foundation Scholars at

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Spring 2020 REEF Marine Conservation Interns

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Key Largo, FL is now accepting applications for Spring 2020 Marine Conservation Interns. REEF’s Marine Conservation Internship provides an in-depth look into REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project and Invasive Lionfish Program. The internship provides diverse experiences including non-profit operations, outreach and education, field experience, data collection and management, public speaking, event planning and advertising. During the four-month internship, you will have many opportunities to dive and volunteer with partner organizations in the Florida Keys and South Florida. More info at

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Spring 2020 AAUS New DSO Orientation

The AAUS New DSO Orientation will be held in conjunction with the spring AAUS Board of Directors meeting. The day and location of this orientation will be determined by those who show interest in attending. If you would like to attend, please send an email to with your location/ region and week of Feb/Mar preference no later than November 30th. Formal registration will open in December.

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WDHOF Scholarships and Training Grants

The Women Divers Hall of Fame ™ (WDHOF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and raising awareness of the contributions of outstanding women divers. WDHOF provides educational, mentorship, financial, and career opportunities to the diving community throughout the world. Each year, WDHOF awards scholarships and training grants that provide financial and educational support to individuals of all ages, particularly those who are preparing for professional careers that involve diving. Applications close on October 31, 2019 at midnight EDT. More information at

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2019 AAUS/OWUSS Internships

AAUS partners with Our World Underwater Scholarship Society to offer two internships annually; The Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Internship and the Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship. These internships will provide undergraduates with the experience and opportunities necessary for a future in science, diving for research, or scientific diving-related fields. Intern applicants can be students from colleges and universities with an interest in science and diving. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will include training and hands on experience at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. Intern applications open in mid-October and close December 01st. Organizational Members who are interested in hosting an intern should contact the AAUS office.

Kyra Cippola has been awarded the 2019 Lee H. Somers Scientific diving internship. Kyra is currently a senior at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, pursuing a double major in Environmental Science & Sustainability (ESS) and Italian Studies. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will host this year’s intern. Kyra will be working with Diana Steller and will receive her AAUS science diver certification along with hands-on experience on several on-going research projects.

Liza Hasan has been awarded the 2019 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research internship. She will be graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in May, 2019 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her time at the University of Colorado, she has had the opportunity to conduct research on alpine plant ecology, prairie dog spatial dynamics, and greenback cutthroat trout restoration. University of Alaska will host this year’s intern. Liza will be working with Brenda Konar on examining how watersheds with different amounts of glacial cover impact coastal communities.

Find out more about these interns and keep up with their summer adventures at

Update:  The 2019 Somers and Mitchell interns are off and diving!  Keep up with their adventures this summer through their blogs.  We are excited to see what all they get to experience and learn at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the University of Alaska and beyond.

Lee H. Somers Scientific diving intern – Kyra Cipolla:

Mitchell Scientific Diving Research intern –
Liza Hasan:

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2019 AAUS Board of Directors Elections

The 2019 AAUS election is now open and close June 30. The election is open to Full Voting Members (individual and OM Reps) in good standing. Below you will find the slate of candidates. Below are links to candidate bios and election questions. All voting is to take place on the new website. Please follow the directions below and be an active part of your Academy and VOTE!

To write in a candidate, email name of the write-in candidate to two of the election committee members:
• Rick Riera-Gomez, Chair (
• George Peterson (
• Rob Robbins (
• Lora Pride (

Secretary Candidates:
Robbie Christian, University of Miami
Jessica Keller, NOAA

Candidate Bios Found Here

Director-at-Large Candidates:
Scott Chapman, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Nicole Grinnan, University of West Florida
Laurie Penland, Smithsonian Institute
Addie Waters, University of New England

Candidate Bios Found Here

Instructions for Online Voting:
1. Login at Your username is the email address on file with AAUS. Password can be reset with "forgot password" if needed.
2. Go to Members Tab then Members Profile
3. Blue Vote Now button below member info block on the left hand side of the page. (You may be required to sign in again)
4. Follow onscreen instructions to submit vote.

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Challenge Match Courtesy of One of Our Own

Bill Power (IM member since 2004), DSO for the LA County Sanitation Districts (OM member since 2014), recently contacted the Foundation with regard to an inheritance from a relative with an interest in Bill’s work as a scientific diver. “I figured I would share some of the wealth with an organization that can further the goals of others with similar interests” Bill explained. At the very end of 2018, Bill donated $5000 to support the bubble breaker at the upcoming Vancouver symposium and agreed to donate up to another $5000 this year to match any and all donations to the Foundation ( between now and the symposium. Every dollar that he is donating is being used to leverage additional funding for scholarships. Please don’t let this opportunity to double the impact of your giving pass; it only takes a few minutes to access the website and donate.

Bill was certified in 1984 at UCLA and spent one of his final quarters in college taking marine biology classes and doing scientific diving at the Wrigley Institute at Catalina Island. He also worked at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and New Mexico Natural History Museum as an aquarist and was involved in specimen collections using diving. He has been with LA County Sanitation Districts for 30 years doing marine biology, 23 of these as a scientific diver, performing transect dives, bioaccumulation collections and fish surveys.

Everyone please, raise your glass to Bill and thank him; he’s really going above and beyond!

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AAUS Student Scholarships 2019

The AAUS Foundation awards scholarships to graduate students engaged in, or planning to begin, research projects in which diving is used as an important research tool or studying diving science. The Foundation awards $3000 to each winning proposal from the Masters and Doctoral level submissions. Additionally, the AAUS may award $1500 scholarships to the second ranked proposals in each category.

Applicant Must:
• Be a current member of AAUS (student or full member). Please review the difference in a member and AAUS scientific diver described in the FAQs here. Prospective applicants can join at
• Be accepted and enrolled in a Master's program (for the Master's Program award) or a Ph.D. program (for the Ph.D. program award).
• Submit online application form.
• Submit a proposal of 3 to 5 pages describing the research methods, significance of the research, and a budget (if part of a larger budget, specify how AAUS funds will be spent). Must be uploaded through submission form.
• A letter of support from a faculty advisor must be submitted electronically to
• Agree to write an article for the E-Slate describing the proposed research within one year of scholarship award.
• Present the results of their research at an AAUS symposium or other scientific meeting within one year of the project’s completion.

Completed applications are due June 30. More information and the online application, can be found at now or send questions to the Scholarship Committee Chair at

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Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award

The Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award is a competitive award developed to support the professional development of students engaged in diving science or the study of diving science. The award was created in memory of Kevin Flanagan (1970-2012), an AAUS board member (2009-2011) and diving safety officer (1998-2012). Donations to fund this award can be given at Please indicate "K Flanagan Fund" on the donation page. Join us in our efforts to honor Kevin and provide students with much needed travel funds.

The Flanagan Travel Award provides up to 3 students with an $800 travel stipend to attend the annual AAUS Diving for Science Symposium as well as a waiver of symposium registration fees. Students may apply for this award independently of or in addition to the research award.

Applicant must:
• Be a current member of AAUS (student or full member). Prospective applicants can join at
• Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student.
• Complete the online form and upload a proposal letter describing the professional benefits to be derived from attending an AAUS meeting and a budget for travel expenses requested from AAUS.
• A letter of support from a faculty advisor must be submitted electronically to

Completed applications are due June 30. More information and the online application, can be found at now or send questions to the Scholarship Committee Chair at

Latest News

Lumcon Field Course 2020

Posted on 1/29/2020

Sherry Anne Reed

Posted on 1/28/2020

Northeast DSO Meeting 2020

Posted on 1/7/2020

2020 OM Renewals

Posted on 1/7/2020