November 2019
The 38th Annual Symposium is in the review mirror, and it did not disappoint! Vancouver was a spectacular meeting venue; many thanks to Jeremy Heywood, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Simon Fraser University for hosting the AAUS/CAUS Joint meeting. In addition, thanks to the BOD and DSOs who provided compelling and timely workshops throughout the week, including a participant record-setting DSO Orientation workshop! Many thanks to the vendors andsponsors who continue to graciously support the Academy with funds and in-kind support/services for the Bubble Breaker and the Workshops, so that we can focus on networking, camaraderie, and/or outreach that enhances the mission and visibility of the AAUS. I’d again like to thank the past-Presidents who give freely of their time and collective wisdom relative to current and future concerns of the Academy, and to the membership who come together annually to express their concerns and ideas relative to the sustainable success of AAUS. And last, but by no means least, my undying gratitude and respect for Heather who makes the meeting such a joy to attend (by proactively, and in real-time, putting out fires before membership can ever smell the smoke…)! Once again, Heather has done a phenomenal job for the Academy for which I am eternally grateful!

My only regret this year is that we don’t have an announced destination for 39th Annual Symposium, which has been moved to Spring of 2021. For those of you who are interested in hosting the meeting, the deadline for a proposal is December 31, 2019; contact for proposal guidelines..

A synopsis of meeting highlights and future directions for those who couldn’t attend. First, the Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Stephen C. Jewett from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Steve is a worthy recipient having worked for over 43 years in Alaska, providing significant insights into the biodiversity, ecology, and resilience of the regional ecosystems, in addition to running the UAF Scientific Diving Program. While the Scientific Talks were limited to a single day, there was still an interesting split between “science” and “scientific diving”, and there were four great talks by students (Elizabeth Hasan, the Mitchell Scientific Diving Intern; Rachel Borisko; Kyra Cipolla, the Lee Sommers Scientific Diving Intern; and Rob Rondeau), as well as a talk by the Our World Underwater Scholars (Neha Acharya-Patel and Kim Saskia Hildebrandt). Elizabeth Hasan was awarded best student presentation for her research on subtidal community ecology along a glacial gradient, and more significantly, she will return to her mentor’s (Dr. Brenda Konar, UAF) lab in the Spring to begin a graduate degree; congratulations to both!

A few pieces of business, and some initiatives, are worth revisiting. First, budget projections indicate the Academy will be solvent in the near-term, but growth will be capped at a fiscally-unsustainable level. As such the membership showed suppport moving forward on a tiered dues structure; Treasurer Chris Riguad and myself will crunch the numbers for release in early 2020. The budget is, at least partially, dependent on a new Strategic Plan (= Academy needs). Thus, we will forward a poll to membership in the coming weeks to determine future directives; please respond ASAP!

President-elect Derek Smith kicked off his upcoming tenure as President with breakout sessions, and a roundtable synopsis, on International Relations relative to Scientific Diving; look for more details in 2020.

Finally, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for an Individual Membership drive within AAUS; 2020 will be the Year of the IM! In support of this initiative watch for information on IM drive materials and a challenge from one of our own in the mid-month newsletter and December E-Slate.

Thanks again to everyone who has volunteered their time in service to the Academy in 2019, and to others who wish to help. Contact us anytime at!
Marc Slattery 
University of Mississippi



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