AAUS/OWUSS Scientific Diving Internship
The Our World-Underwater Scholarship has collaborated with the American Academy of Underwater Sciences to create a new scientific diving internship. This internship 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 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 AAUS. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses
More information on how to apply available here.
More information and an application to host an AAUS/OWUSS intern available here.
The 2013 AAUS/OWUSS Intern is Teresa Tymom, University of South Carolina, and will be hosted by the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Read Teresa's bio here.
Teresa Tymon (OWUSS-AAUS Intern 2013) Report
Read excerpts from Teresa Tymon's report below or view the entire report in PDF format.
Annie Thomson (OWUSS-AAUS Intern 2012) Report
Read excerpts from Annie Thomson's report below or view the entire report in PDF format.
Jenna Walker (OWUSS-AAUS Intern 2011) Report
Read excerpts from Jenna Walker's report below or view the entire report in PDF format.
Located in Anacortes, Washington, Shannon Point Marine Center of Western Washington University was selected as the host site for the internship in 2011. I arrived in Anacortes, Washington after a cross-country flight and three-hour bus ride, eventually making my way to Shannon Point Marine Center. There I met SPMC's Diving Safety Officer (DSO) Capt. Nate Schwarck, M.S. who immediately showed me around the facilities and diving locker.
The AAUS is well known for their diving safety record and rigorous education/training standards, standards that I became familiar with during the course of my internship. I worked through both theoretical and practical training modules before participating in scientific diving activities as required by Shannon Point. Eventually I acquired a letter of verification from SPMC's scientific diving program, recognized by all AAUS sites, allowing me to further my career in marine science with the ability to use scientific diving as a research tool.
The waters near Anacortes are not the friendliest of diving territories. Besides frigid temperatures, average visibility is around 3-4 m and strong current systems leave average slack windows of 20 minutes between 0.5 kt ebb to flood tidal exchanges. Even though it was a challenging environment, I am very grateful for my experience as I feel it made me a better diver. It is one of those reassuring things that if you can make it here, you feel prepared to handle diving most anywhere. Helping Shannon Point with their scientific diving tasks allowed me to acquire experience in a variety of diving techniques. I did organism collections for staff researchers, REU students, and community outreach tanks. We sampled surface and benthic water from the Salish Sea for water quality analysis. A CTD was retrieved and redeployed monthly for local water profile analysis by the Washington State Department of Ecology. And finally we completed a survey of SPMC's sea water intake system for the Washington Department of Natural Resources to assess the local impacts of building the system. By far the star of the summer was our research with native Pinto abalone. The Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) funded two days of brood stock dives where we collected solitary, reproductively isolated adult abalone for hatchery efforts. These were some of the most interesting dives we did, lots of beautiful habitat and kelp forest canopies. Eventually I had to rinse off my gear for the final time, pack up, and head back to the east coast. I had an absolutely fantastic summer and hope to return to Anacortes one day, but for now I am off to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where I will be diving as a field technician for some physical oceanographers!
Mykle Hoban (OWUSS-AAUS Intern 2010) Report
Read excerpts from Mykle Hoban's report below or view entire report in PDF format.
I have long had a passion for the sea and in recent years diving has become equally as important to me, both recreationally and as a potential research tool. When I discovered the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society was offering an internship in conjunction with the AAUS, I knew that I had found what I was looking for. I was pleased to learn that I had been selected and excited that the site was Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scripps was the first research institution to establish a scientific diving program and is the oldest continuous non-military diving program of any kind.
The internship began with the Scripps scientific diving course. This course trains divers in skills and practices necessary to safely and successfully conduct research underwater. The first week following the scientific diving class was a dramatic shift of pace. In that period, I learned about and worked on dive equipment. As time went on, I was given the opportunity to assist various researchers in the field. Faculty and graduate students at Scripps have research sites all over the world, but many are local to San Diego. Some of the disciplines in which I was able to participate during my time there include kelp ecology and biological oceanography, physical oceanography, ocean chemistry and marine natural product research. The project I spent quite a bit of time on was a long term monitoring of kelp forest ecology run by the Dayton lab. My role consisted of conducting field urchin surveys and measuring kelp density and recruitment. It was good to make a contribution to a project that has been on-going since 1971.
I was impressed with the breadth of the scientific diving program and the relative smoothness with which it appeared to be managed. I learned an extraordinary amount this summer. Scripps is a very diverse and dynamic research institution and I was able to involve myself in an interesting array of projects, and make some good personal connections within the research community. I believe that the first OWU/AAUS internship was a resounding success.