Mission & Goals

The mission of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) is to advance and facilitate safe and productive scientific diving. The AAUS was officially chartered in California in 1983 by individuals and organizations involved in the effort to obtain the scientific diving exemption from OSHA commercial diving standards. In the years since, the AAUS has expanded from the original six organizational members to more than 130 organizational members and over 1100 individual members. Organizational membership includes colleges and universities, government agencies, museums and aquaria, environmental and archaeological consulting firms, and community science groups sharing a common thread of the use of diving as a research tool and a commitment to the health and safety of scientific divers. AAUS produces consensual standards for the training and certification of scientific divers and the operation of scientific diving programs, maintains statistics detailing scientific diving activities and incident rates, conducts annual symposia and topical workshops, and directly supports student research.

In the Spotlight

Deep-Sea Pioneers Take Root in the Gulf of Mexico

By Sasha Francis, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Michelle Donahue, NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation

A curious conveyor has been at work in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, busily shuttling pieces of vividly colored, fan-like corals to new homes on the deep seafloor. In shocking colors of orange, purple, and white with long, gently waving branches, these corals have had a remarkable journey to get here. They’re true trailblazers: they represent the first direct outplanting efforts to restore coral communities damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in deep areas of the Gulf.

(Photo: Dr. Carlos Prada of the University of Rhode Island prepares coral fragments for the outplanting rack. Image credit: NOAA)

Current Organizational Members

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Our Partners


Organizational members comprised of both US and International members in Academia, Aquariums, Government and Consulting firms.


Scientific dives logged by members since 1998

0.324 per 10,000 dives

DCI rate for AAUS divers, 1/10 that of recreational divers


Scholarship money given out since 1996


Amount of science dollars supported by AAUS diving in the last 5 years

Contact Us

American Academy of Underwater Sciences
Heather Albright – Operations Manager
PO Box 9067
Mobile, AL 36691-9067


[email protected]

Support the Foundation

The AAUS Foundation is a 501c3 charity that provides internships and scholarships to students who utilize scientific diving as a research tool or study scientific diving. Partner with us as we help fund up and coming diving scientist!
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