November President's Slate

Looking back on the 37 th Annual Symposium banquet, I remember being (perhaps too) effusive with thanx and praise for everyone (and I hope I didn’t forget someone…) who made the Lake Tahoe meeting a success. But that is only because it really was a phenomenal meeting! So at the risk of sounding like a broken record (and for the last time, I promise…), thanx to: our co-hosts Jim Hayward and Jason Herum, the staff of Granlibakken who kept us well fed and comfortable so we could enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie, the many DSOs, vendors, and sponsors who provided in-kind support/services for the Bubble Breaker and the workshops, the Board of Directors and their committee volunteers who provided logistical support at the new DSO orientation and/or outreach to membership, the Past Presidents who provided their collective wisdom and institutional memory on some current concerns, and all of you for the great talks during the Symposium and around the campfire! And to Heather (for whom one can never be too effusive)… Vancouver will be a lovely destination next year, but Tahoe has “set the bar” at an almost impossibly high standard!!!

Hopefully you are reading this President’s Message on the NEW WEBSITE (which debuted in Tahoe), but if not then check it out here (aaus.org), and note the complementary site for the AAUS Foundation here (aausfoundation.org)! There is still some website content that needs to be populated before the end of the year, but we finally have a presence that we can grow with and be proud of, so that is awesome! At a first glance many of the same tabs will take you to similar content from the prior website, but be sure to check out the NEW STANDARDS MANUAL at www.aaus.org/AAUS/About/Diving_Standards.

As noted during the Annual DSO Business Meeting, you must adopt this manual by 1 June 2019 to remain compliant with the AAUS. Moreover, there are enough changes throughout the manual that you will likely need to cut your program-specific content into the AAUS template rather than replacing specific sections as you have done in the past, so get started early…

For those who couldn’t attend (and for people like myself who have to write it down to remember…), I wanted to provide some of the Symposia highlights, and future directions. First, the Conrad Limbaugh Scientific Diving Leadership Award for 2018 was presented to Mike Dardeau, and few could argue that anyone is a more deserving recipient for his years of service to the Academy. Frankly, he should receive a special commendation just for the circuitous route he took THROUGH Hurricane Michael to attend the Symposium! The Symposia talks were split about equally between “science” and “scientific diving”; all abstracts, and many papers, can be reviewed in the Symposium Proceedings here (Heather- insert link here). The talks included three great presentations by student scientists (Jaxon Derow, Northeastern University; George Jarvis, California State University- Northridge; Maggie Jenkins, California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo), and Maggie Jenkins was awarded best student presentation for her research on the indirect effects of sea otter predation on the success of an invasive bryozoan. Finally, the AAUS Social Media branch, led by Jessica Keller and Jonathan Langham, have a variety of digital content showcasing the Academy at its best that will be released in the coming weeks (BTW- they would love to hear from you for future stories about your scientific diving program; coordinate via aaus@aaus.org).

Two big initiatives for 2019 were announced at the meeting: 1) a medical standards review, and 2) the development of an AAUS business plan. It has been over 7 years since the last “blue ribbon medical panel” was charged with assessing medical standards. Given the continued advancements/issues in diving physiology and medical safety, as well as the recent discussions with partner scientific diving agencies relative to the OSHA exemption, we must charge a new panel with re-assessing the medical standards for current scientific diving practices. Doug Schleiger, DSO for the Smithsonian Institution Scientific Diving Program, has agreed to serve as the Chair of an ad hoc committee that will solicit recommendations for the Panel, as well as develop a list of questions and criteria for the Panel so they can be efficient and effective in their deliberations. If you want to help, Doug (SchleigerD@si.edu) would like to hear from you ASAP since we hope to seat the Panel in late Spring 2019! The other issue of concern is the financial stability of the Academy and, as discussed, we were forced to raise dues in the coming year to $675 annually to offset the costs associated with increasing the Operations Manager from a ¾ to full time employee, as well as the costs of the new website. However, there was consensus among membership that an AAUS Business Plan is currently requisite to ensure the long term stability of the Academy, and it’s planned growth needs relative to personnel, infrastructure, and education/outreach initiatives. Treasurer Chris Rigaud and I will begin the task of pulling together the financial data, and we will then work with an ad hoc committee to develop a functional Business Plan during 2019 (any help/suggestions are welcome!).

In closing, I’d like to thank the AAUS members on-site in Tahoe who volunteered to serve on Academy committees in the coming year, and to remind others that we appreciate ANY HELP at ANYTIME… Looking forward to seeing you in Vancouver next year, and to hearing from you sooner (aaus@aaus.org). Marc Slattery University of Mississippi

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