2015 AAUS BOD Elections

The 2015 AAUS Board of Directors elections are open from May 01, 2015 to June 30, 2015.

1
AAUS Strategic Plan Review

The AAUS Strategic plan is available until June 30, 2015 for membership review and comment.

2
2015 AAUS Symposium Registration Open

The 2015 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium will be held September 28-October 03, 2015 in Key West, FL.  Registration is open and abstracts are now being accepted!

3
Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominations are now open for the 2015 Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award. 

4
2015 Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award Voting

Voting is now open for the 2015 Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership. 

5
AAUS Certification Program

It is time for your annual AAUS-ITI Instructor Renewal.  More information here.

6
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".

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Event Calendar View All

AAUS Student Scholarship Applications Due
    06/30/14

AAUS Student Scholarships 

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 Kevin Gurr Scholarship awards $3000 to a Master program student. The Kathy Johnston Scholarship awards $3000 to a Doctoral student. AAUS may also award additional $1500 scholarships to the second ranked proposals in each category.  The Foundation also grants the Kevin Flanagan Travel Award providing up to $800 for undergraduate/graduate students to attend an AAUS scientific meeting and the Hollis Gear Award that provides up to two recipients with an award valued at $1250, good towards Hollis dive gear and travel monies.  Applications are submitted electronically and all proposals are due June 30. For more information and application instructions, visit www.aausfoundation.org,or send questions to the Scholarship Committee Chair at aaus@disl.org

2015 UW-FHL Ecology Course
    07/20/15 - 08/21/15

2015 UW-FHL Ecology Course

A course entitled Ecology Between and Below Pacific Tides will be offered July 20-August 21, 2015 at Friday Harbor Laboratories.  The 5 week, 9 academic credit hour course is an upper-level Ecology course with tracks available for both diving and non-diving students. This course will allow students, who are qualified, to simultaneously become AAUS-certified as scientific divers, carry out subtidal research projects and earn academic credit. Please see http://depts.washington.edu/fhl/studentSummer2015.html#SumB-4  or contact Pema Kitaeff (pema@uw.edu) for more information.  Applications are due February 01, 2015. 

2015 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium
    09/28/15 - 10/03/15

Latest News View All

2014 Year End AAUS Foundation Update
    12/01/14

AAUS Foundation Update

The AAUS Foundation has had a productive 2014, disbursing nearly $13,000 in scholarship funds, including for first place and runner-up awards for both doctoral and master candidates, an Our World Underwater (OWU)/AAUS intern award, a Best Student paper award, and two Kevin Flanagan Student Travel awards. We have also had some fundraising success. Our donation drive at the Sitka symposium raised nearly $6000 for the Kevin Flanagan Student Travel award, bringing the fund to within

$17,000 of the $60,000 required to make this a permanently endowed award. Additional efforts during the Bubble Breaker resulted in more than $5000 raised for scholarships. As 2014 comes to an end, the opportunity to make a tax deductible donation in this year is closing fast. Since every dollar raised in 2014 will be matched by AAUS, the value to the Foundation for any donation will be doubled.  We ask for your support to make the most of this. To donate, go to http://www.aausfoundation.org and click on the 'Donate' button.  Be sure to include a comment if you would like to direct your donation to the Kevin Flanagan award. We are grateful to all our donors and wish you well in the upcoming year.

Aqua Lung to Expand the SureLock II Rubber Handle Recall
    11/06/14

Two years ago, Aqua Lung recalled SureLock II rubber weight pocket handles because the rubber handles could separate from the SureLock latching mechanism. At that time, we asked you to replace those rubber handles with a revised version that was identified by a raised crescent of thicker rubber material.

Aqua Lung has now seen failures of the revised rubber handles too. While the method of failure is different and much less frequent, we feel that the time has come to take all rubber handles out of service.

In parallel, over one year ago, Aqua Lung designed a new SureLock II weight pocket handle that moved away from rubber altogether. The new design uses webbing to attach the handle to the SureLock mechanism. This web-based handle was placed into BC production in November 2013.
 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using their BCs with Sure Lock II rubber weight pocket handles. Bring the pockets to your nearest authorized Aqua Lung Dive Retailer or Dive Center. They will be able to replace your handles for you while you wait, as changing handles is a quick process. The replacement is made under warranty and you will not incur any charges.

This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Consumer Contact - for additional assistance please call (855) 355-7170 or visit www.aqualung.com and click on the Recall Notice.

2014 AAUS Foundation Scholarship Winners
    10/14/14

 

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


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