2014 AAUS Foundation Scholars

Congratulations to the 2014 AAUS Foundation Scholars!  Learn more about them here.

2014 AAUS Symposium Proceedings

Thank you to all our participants and sponsors for a great meeting!  You may download an electronic copy of the proceedings here.

2014 AAUS Symposium Participants

You may download a list of symposium participans here.

2014 Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award

The 2014 AAUS Foundation's  Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award has been awarded to Lauren Bell and Sonia Ibarra from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

AAUS Certification Program

AAUS Certification program information and registration forms can be found here.

Current E-Slate

Current E-Slate is available on the first of every month.  You can access older editions in the resource library under "publications".

Nautilus, Shearwater, Oceanic and Hollis Institutional Pricing

Nautilus, Shearwater, Oceanic and Hollis have gratiously extended their institutional pricing to all AAUS organizations.  Follow the link for more information and access to the price lists.


Event Calendar View All

International Mesophotic Workshop in Eilat
    10/26/14 - 10/31/14

Tel-Aviv University & the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat will be conducting a one week intensive workshop from October 26-31, 2014. This workshop is designed for scientists and students who interested in mesophotic and deep environments. Please note the last day for abstract submissions. More information at www.mceisrael.com.


International Mesophotic Workshop in Eilat
    10/26/14 - 10/31/14

Tel-Aviv University & the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat will be conducting a one week intensive workshop from October 26-31, 2014. This workshop is designed for scientists and students who interested in mesophotic and deep environments. Please note the last day for abstract submissions. More information at www.mceisrael.com

2014 BLUE Ocean Film Festival
    11/03/14 - 11/09/14

2014 BLUE Ocean Film Festival

The 2014 BLUE Ocean Film Festival will be held November 3-9 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit is an international non-profit organization that uses the power of film, visual arts, entertainment and science to inspire ocean stewardship around the world.


Latest News View All

2014 AAUS Foundation Scholarship Winners


Kathy English Scholarship

First Place - Marissa McMahan (Northeastern University)

I am in the second year of a Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at Northeastern University. My research interests focus on changes in predator-prey dynamics in the Gulf of Maine. Currently, I am working to better understanding the impacts of emergent species on local ecology, food web dynamics, and fisheries productivity. In light of recent and continuing climate change, emergent species are becoming more common in areas such as the Gulf of Maine. Specifically, I am interested in the recent range expansion of the black sea bass, Centropristis striata, into the Gulf of Maine. Large predators are rare in the nearshore waters of the northern Gulf of Maine. While pursuing a M.S. at the University of Maine, I studied the influence of Atlantic cod on the movement behavior of the 
American lobster, Homarus americanus. My research suggests that the drastic decline in cod stocks in the 1980s may have contributed to the exponential increase in lobster that followed in the 1990s. This research is particularly important to me because I have directly experienced the cascading effects of food web altercation while working as a commercial fisherman over the past decade. My background in both the fishing industry and marine ecology provides me with a unique perspective on the interaction between ecological changes and resulting impacts to fisheries.
The emergence of black sea bass as a potential new predator of lobsters and other native species in the northern Gulf of Maine is cause for concern. The increase of black sea bass in the southern Gulf of Maine, and the arrival of black sea bass in the northern Gulf of Maine, could have potential negative impacts on native species and subsequent fisheries. Through this research, I hope to understand how emergent species impact food web dynamics and ultimately influence both the ecological and economic resilience of the Gulf of Maine.
Second Place - Allison Tracy (Cornell University)
I am a coral disease biologist in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD program at Cornell University. Before moving into the field of coral ecology, I studied the effects of environmental stressors on disease and immunity in organisms as diverse as cattle and lobsters. Although pathogens are an important part of healthy ecosystems, environmental stress may exacerbate morbidity and mortality caused by disease. The relationship between the host, the pathogen, and the environment is the foundation of my doctoral research on the Caribbean sea fan, Gorgonia ventalina. This system is particularly tractable as G. ventalina is the subject of past research on coral disease, survives well in a laboratory setting, and has several known pathogens. Over the past two years, I have conducted a series of underwater surveys and a factorial laboratory experiment in La Parguera, Puerto Rico to explore the separate and combined effects of stressors, such as temperature and water pollution, on coral disease and immunity. I am especially interested in the immune response of corals in a changing environment. An enhanced understanding of the repertoire of coral immune defenses is critical for understanding disease resistance and has the potential to shed light on the evolution of immune systems. 
Kevin Gurr Scholarship
First Place - Caitlin Hanley (Florida Atlantic University)
I am pursuing my M.S. degree at the Department of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University. I became a certified SCUBA diver two years ago and completed my AAUS scientific dive training shortly after. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geology from FAU where as an undergraduate I examined deep sea sediments from the Northwestern slope of the Great Bahama Bank. This project revealed the existence of an unusual micro benthic assemblage residing on a steep underwater talus slope that did not exist within similar depth ranges south of Victory Cay and north of South Bimini. This project heightened my interests in marine microorganisms and their functionality in an underwater ecosystem.  My current research focuses on foraminiferal assemblages on natural and artificial reefs off the coast of southeastern Florida. Foraminifera have long been used as environmental indicators due to their relatively small size, abundance, and similar water quality requirements they share with zooxanthellate corals. The goal of my AAUS funded research is to provide baseline data for micro benthos biodiversity on natural and artificial reefs and to improve the understanding of artificial reef development.
Second Place - Katie Davis (University of California, Santa Barbara)
I am a graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. My graduate research is focused on the spatial ecology of coral reef herbivores, specifically how community structure influences the movement and foraging ecology of parrotfishes. More broadly, I am interested in the ecology of kelp forest and coral reefs: how these habitats are structured by herbivory and how direct and indirect interactions with humans modify the processes of herbivory in these systems. Before starting graduate school, I spent several years working in the Santa Barbara Channel conducting dive surveys as part of a long-term large-scale kelp forest monitoring program with the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO). Monitoring the Marine Protected Areas in the Channel Islands (established in 2003) over the course of the last seven years I have been a witness to some significant community shifts as anthropogenic impacts have been restricted in these areas. This has piqued my interest in further understanding the roll of fishing (and its effects on herbivory) in these coastal communities. 
My graduate research is mainly conducted at Palmyra Atoll which has an unfished reef system managed by US Fish and Wildlife. Because the reef communities are unaltered by human extraction, we are able to establish baseline patterns of fish movement in this system. With the AAUS Kevin Gurr scholarship award, I will be able to conduct a comparative movement study, in a fished location, to determine how community alteration affects individual movement in these ecologically important species.
Hollis Gear Award
Victoria Sindorf (University of Hawaii, Manoa)

My name is Victoria (Tori) Sindorf; I’m a second year PhD student in the Marine Biology Graduate Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I work at the Kewalo Marine Lab under my advisor, Dr. Robert Richmond. My love of the ocean started at a young age, even before I first donned a mask and snorkel and stared transfixed at my first glimpse of a coral reef. It wasn’t long before I started begging my parents to let me learn how to scuba dive. Since then I have had the pleasure and privilege of diving in many different environments in diverse regions of the world. Working as a research diver in Mexico and Kenya exposed me to the intricate ways in which human well-being and culture are dependent on the health of ocean ecosystems – a truth we have lost sight of in much of America. These experiences only solidified my desire to do research not just for the sake of knowledge, but with the intent of developing effective conservation strategies to help ensure that coral reefs can continue to provide resources and enjoyment for future generations. 

My dissertation research is focused on investigating the chemically mediated interactions between coral and algae on the reef. Since many coral reefs are being overfished and polluted with excess nutrients from shore, phase shifts from rich, diverse coral-dominated ecosystems to relatively lifeless algae-­dominated ecosystems are a very prevalent concern. These ecologically devastating events reduce fish abundance and size, increase shoreline erosion, and destroy the aesthetic appeal of both reefs and beaches – causing huge economic losses for the tourism industry. It is my hope that my work will help establish more effective means of monitoring and managing phase shifts to reduce these events and preserve ecosystem function. 

Scuba diving is a vital component of my ongoing research, and it is with great excitement and overwhelming gratitude that I gladly accept the 2014 AAUS Hollis Equipment Award.  The diving gear produced by Hollis is among the best in the world, designed to endure extreme use in demanding environments. I am thankful to the AAUS and to Hollis for their vote of confidence in me and my research, and for providing this grant to upgrade and expand the tools of my trade- my scuba kit.

Photo Credit: David Slater

Strategic Planning 2014

Strategic Planning

The AAUS Board of Directors is moving ahead with the development of our five-year strategic plan.  Thanks to all who participated in the firstStrategic Planning survey which was distributed in July-August.  We received 180 responses.  The results from the first survey’s multiple-choice questions were presented at two sessions at the annual meeting in September (powerpoint can be viewed here). We are beginning the process of synthesizing the text responses.  The second surveyis now open and will close on October 15; all members have received the link via email and are encouraged to respond.  In addition to these two surveys, we conducted an “instantfeedback”iClicker session at the 2014 symposium with a mix of new questions that were either submitted by members at the symposium, or which were left off the two main surveys due to length limitations.   If you were not able to attend the iClicker session, we’d like to get your responses. All of iClicker questions have been reformatted into a survey which can be answered at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/iclickersession

Members of the 2014 and 2015 Board of Directors will be meeting in mid-February for a two-day strategic planning session, and by late spring we anticipate having a draft plan that will be sent out for member review.  Please stay tuned for possible additional surveys and contact one of your Board members if you have questions about the process.  Thank you for your participation!

Self Evaluation Form for OMs

Self Evaluation Form

With help from the Membership, Standards and Accreditation committees, the AAUS BOD has developed a version of the “Self accreditation checklist” which is being called the Self Evaluation Form.  Starting in 2015 we’ll begin requiring the completion of this form for review by the Membership Committee along with other application materials from all new OM applicants. However, this is a useful tool for any dive program and we encourage you to complete it.  You will find a link on your Organization’s profile where you can upload the completed form as a “Misc Document File”.  Similar to the request we made in the June ESlate regarding the completion of the four exemption questions, adding the self-evaluation form to your OM profile will help the Membership committee and other OMs to confirm that you are an active OM in good standing with AAUS.  In 2015, the self evaluation will likely become a required component of every OM profile.  You may view the form hereor in the resource library www.aaus.org.

This site designed by Lunar Cow.