News & Announcements

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AAUS Student Scholarships 2020

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 Foundation awards $3000 to each winning proposal from the Master’s and Doctoral level submissions. Additionally, the AAUS may award $1500 scholarships to the second ranked proposals in each category. Completed applications are due June 30. More information and the online application, can be found at now or send questions to the Scholarship Committee Chair at

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Board of Directors Email Changes

AAUS BoD members now have position-specific email addresses. Please see the full list below, with the corresponding BOD member responding to these email addresses in parentheses. As new Board members are elected/appointed, these email addresses will stay with the Board position, providing continuity of communication with community members and a historical record.

Please use these email addresses when contacting AAUS BoD members concerning official AAUS business: (Derek Smith) (Marc Slattery) (This could be you in 2021! Apply!) (Christopher Rigaud) (Jessica Keller) (Ross Whippo) (Kevin Buch) (Lizzie McNamee) (Nicole Grinnan) (Steve Clabuesch) (Scott Chapman) (Jenna Walker)

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DSO Listserv Changes

In an effort to integrate all AAUS resources through our Office, we have moved the current AAUS DSO Google Group ( to beginning April 01, 2020. Discussion threads from the previous group cannot be ported over to the new group. If you wish to retain discussion threads, please be sure to save the original messages in your email client. After April 01, the previous group/threads will be available for Office reference only.

AAUS will use this opportunity to update the listserv and formalize the rules of engagement and participation. Please see the attached document outlining qualifications for subscribers and listserv rules, policies and expected behavior. If you no longer wish to participate or are not currently a participant and wish to be added as the list is migrated, please contact the AAUS office. A welcome message will be sent from the new group when it goes live.

DSO Listserv Rules, Policies, and Expected Behavior

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Ecology and Conservation of Kelp Forest Communities Summer Course

Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA wil be offering a summer Kelp Forest Ecology class on Jun 22 through July 24, 2020. The course is aimed at upper division undergraduates / beginning graduate students interested in benthic ecology and kelp forests. Advanced SCUBA certification, 12 cold-water dives, and all personal diving gear is required. Summer tuition will be covered; class size is limited. Application deadline is April 15, 2020. Apply at

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Bruce Wienke

Dr Bruce Wienke, a true pioneer in his field of dive specific algorithm design, passed away Saturday, February 15, 2020 leaving behind a great legacy. A keen diver, and downhill skier, Dr Wienke’s interest in diving was reflected in his achievements, and great success as seen in his accolades. His astonishing CV included Instructor Trainer and Technical Instructor with NAUI, a Master Instructor with PADI, Institute Director for YMCA, and an Instructor Trainer/Technical Instructor for SDI/TDI.

Dr Wienke joined Suunto in the late 90s, where he hit the ground running and didn’t stop. Employing his great expertise in the diving specific algorithm field, he joined Ari Nikkola in the development of the revolutionary Reduced Gradient Bubble Model (RGBM). Prior to joining the Suunto family, Dr Wienke was a Program Manager in the Nuclear Weapons Technology Simulation and Computing Office at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) where he completed research up until his death. As head of the LANL Nuclear Counter Measures Dive Team involving Special Warfare Units both above and below the water, he trained alongside the special forces well into his 70s.

Alongside his high achieving work life, he served actively as a consultant for decompression algorithms within the dive industry and he worked with Divers Alert Network, DAN, on applications of high performance computing and communications for diving.

Dr Bruce Wienke was a widely regarded and respected figure of the dive industry, and he will be by missed all his Suunto family. He is survived by his wife, Annie.

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Steve Mercer

Steve died Monday 02 March 2020, after a very short battle with acute leukemia. He will be missed so much. He was a most loved husband and best friend of Liz Jones, wonderful dad of Dylan and Siân and their spouses Nicole Mercer and Matt Larcombe, and fun Grandad of tots Lily and Darcy and brand new granddaughter Lucy who he saw and held. Also best brother to twin Kerrie and husband Oriel Martin. He touched so many lives in his work in scientific diving and Antarctic research under the ice and in his many interests, more recently Wellington 4WD club, amateur radio and assisting in Land Search and Rescue. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mary Potter Hospice, PO Box 7442, Newtown, Wellington 6242, or via their website support a much needed hospice for the Kapiti Coast. Reprint from

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USC Catalina Chamber Day 2020

Since 1989 Chamber Day has become not only the key fund-raising event for the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, but is also (as best we can tell) the largest single-day scuba charity event in the United States, and perhaps even the world. This year’s Chamber Day is May 06, but because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Chamber Day 2020 is a 100% virtual experience.

Here’s what’s happening and what you can do to help:
SIGN UP FOR THE FLYING DUTCHMAN –The Dutchman is a mythical boat, that’s normally for those who can’t take a day off to go dive. This year, for a donation of $95, Dutchman divers will get five raffle tickets plus a special limited-edition T-shirt available only to folks who sign up for the Dutchman. You also get to choose your “pirate” name which will be part of a skull mosaic on the front of the shirt.

DONATE TO THE CHAMBER CHALLENGE – Donate directly with all proceeds going directly to the Chamber. You can donate $100, $500 or more, and then you challenge your friends to match your generosity.

THE TABLE CHALLENGE – Join us for a virtual dinner event. “Seats” are $120 each and instead of dinner, you’ll get a Chamber Eve short-sleeved t-shirt, raffle tickets, a shot at the Grand Prize (a week of diving in Yap) and some other fun prizes. Sign up for a seat at a table and be sure to designate AAUS as the sponsor.

This event is critical to keeping the Chamber open and available 24/7/365 and we need YOUR help. Many AAUS organizations and individuals dive SoCal waters and, in the event of a diving accident, the Chamber can make the difference between life and death. Even for those that don’t dive in SoCal, the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, under the watchful eye of Director Karl Huggins, is involved in research that is shared with facilities around the world. To participate or for more information, visit the website or call Chamber Day HQ at 310-652-4990.

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LUMCON AAUS Summer Field Course

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium will be offering a two-week scientific diver field course July 27- August 07, 2020. It has been developed to meet AAUS standards for scientific diver accreditation within research or academic programs. The course is open to the public and researchers needing scientific diver training. The course will meet 8-10 hours daily during the two week period and will include academic course work and testing, pool training in emergency response and diving techniques, and a least 12 dives aboard LUMCON research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Diving will be focused on techniques for diving in inshore low visibility conditions, and offshore open ocean structures in the Gulf of Mexico. Participants are required to reside at LUMCOM during the course and must complete all course prerequisites before arrival. Cost is $2500 all inclusive, except for transportation to and from LUMCON. An application and list of prerequisites can be requested by email to or or at

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AAUS BOD Call for Nominations

The 2020 AAUS Nominating Committee is now accepting for consideration nominations of individual members to stand for the President-elect and Director-at-large (1) positions on the AAUS Board of Directors. The elected Director-at-Large will serve a three-year term and the President-Elect will serve a one-year term followed by two years as President and one year as Past-President. An electronic poll will open on May 01 and close June 30, 2020. Qualified candidates must be full voting members in good standing with the AAUS. The nomination letter (not to exceed 300 words) is best focused on how a particular candidate can contribute to the Academy based on their academic or diving safety contributions, or previous development of not-for-profit organizational governance experience.

Please submit your nomination letter, no later than March 30, 2020, to any one of the five AAUS Nominating Committee members:
• Marc Slattery, Chair (
• Mike Anghera (
• Narineh Nazarian (
• Robbie Christian (
•Robert Reavis (

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Sherry Anne Reed (1959-2019)

Sherry passed away gracefully and peacefully, December 16, 2019. Sherry landed her first marine science job at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., assisting with curating the octopus and mollusk collections. In 1983 Sherry was hired as a Research Assistant to help with the Visiting Scientist Program at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida (SMSFP). She headed field operations and served as Diving Officer for the Smithsonian Marine Station until her promotion to Station Manager in 2015. Sherry is known to many people for her work with countless scientists who conducted research at SMSFP over her 36-year career at the Smithsonian. She was a dedicated professional, always providing the best field and laboratory research support possible. As SMSFP Dive Officer, she worked for many years on the Smithsonian Diving Control Board and supervised hundreds if not thousands of scientific research dives throughout Florida, Belize and the Caribbean. Sherry was a member of a number of professional organizations. She served on the Board of Directors of both the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and the International Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF), the latter of which she was inducted into in 2002. She has been described by her friends and coworkers as "the sweetest and most hard-working woman" and the "heart of the Smithsonian Marine Station." She will be greatly missed.

The family requests that donations to honor Sherry's memory and legacy may be made to continue the WDHOF "Sherry Reed Undergraduate Marine Conservation/Marine Biology Scholarship". Full obituary can be found here.

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Northeast DSO Meeting

The NEDSOs will meet once again for an informal gathering on Sat., March 7, 2020 at the Boston SeaRovers show. This meeting is free for any NEDSOs and affiliates who wish to attend. Please contact Chris Rigaud at to 'register' and provide any agenda items. Please see the Boston SeaRovers website for venue and hotel information.

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2020 AAUS OM Renewals

In 2020 our OM renewal process will consist of 3 processes; Dues payment, Code of Ethics agreement and Statistics submission. The OM will not be considered in compliance until all 3 steps have been completed. Full instructions can be found in the resource library under website instructionals.

OM Dues – OM DSOs and Company Admins can print an invoice and pay via credit card on the website. Instructions attached. Alternatively, OMs can print an invoice online and mail in a check to the address listed below. Note: You will not have full access to your OM profile until your dues are paid. PO Box 9067 Mobile, AL 36691-9067

Code of Ethics Agreement – In 2019 the AAUS BOD rolled out a Code of Ethics (COE) for AAUS DSOs. In 2020 AAUS is requiring that all DSOs agree to the COE. You can access the agreement portal and a link to the COE on the home page (top center) of the OM profile. Simply click the pencil tool and check the box agreeing to the COE.

Statistics Submission - Instructions on submitting statistics are attached and can also be found on the website under Members/ Resource Library/ Website Instructionals. It is strongly recommended that you fill in the blank template by hand and manually check your totals before attempting to submit your stats. Inputs are error checked and you may get a message that your totals do not agree if you do not put a value in EVERY box (zero where appropriate). Please do not include any dives that do not meet AAUS standards, i.e. recreational dives accepted by the DCB as proficiency dives. The blank template and the AAUS statistics collection criteria and definitions may be found on the Members menu/ Statistics/ Submission Info after login or in the DSO Community in the Statistics folder (see Communities instructions for access). Both accesses require member login. Please feel free to contact the Statistics Chair ( with any questions concerning statistics or incident reporting. Statistical summaries are considered late on (and after) 01 April.

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Code of Ethics Agreement

In 2019 the AAUS BOD rolled out a Code of Ethics (COE) for AAUS DSOs. In 2020 AAUS is requiring that all DSOs agree to this Code of Ethics. You can access the agreement portal and a link to the COE on the home page (top center) of the OM profile. Simply click the pencil tool and check the box agreeing to the COE.

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Treasurer's Challenge

For many years, the AAUS operated as a collective of like-minded individuals and organizations whose most significant financial commitment was the annual symposium. Times have certainly changed. AAUS now needs to employ a full-time Operations Manager to meet the demands of everyday business, and we have been endeavoring to provide an ever-increasing array of products and services requested by our members.

In order to maintain and improve the services we provide in a world of ever-increasing expenses, AAUS must increase revenue. We began with an OM dues increase in 2019 which helped offset the expense of a new community database and website, and in 2020 we will embark on an Individual Membership drive to support future initiatives. It is our hope that all current Organizational and Individual members will rally their fellow scientific divers, diving students, and colleagues to begin and maintain Individual Memberships with the Academy. Remember that AAUS Individual Membership is independent of status as an AAUS Scientific Diver at an OM Program, and costs only $50/ year.

For those who are DSOs and/or DCB members, many have likely enjoyed 'sponsored' Individual Memberships in the Academy for the duration of their affiliation with our Organizational Member programs. If you are in that category, please take a moment to consider what you have gained from this community over those years, the personal and professional connections you have made during that time, and what it might mean to you in future years. Is that worth $50/year, or $1/week to you? If so, join me in paying back AAUS for those years and paying it forward for the future.

Beginning in January 2020, I challenge all Diving Safety Officers and Diving Control Board Members to join me in becoming not just Individual Members for a year but, Lifetime Members of the Academy. Let's lead by example and get the 2020 IM Membership Drive off to a running-start. Even if only 50 of you pledged alongside me, these one-time payments of $500 per Lifetime Membership would generate $25,000 in revenue for the Academy. Please join me in demonstrating your historical and ongoing commitment to our community and this profession and establish your legacy as a Lifetime Member and supporter of AAUS.

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2021 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium Host

AAUS is now accepting proposals for spring 2021 symposium hosts! We have shifted our annual meeting schedule to the spring and therefore will not have an annual meeting in 2020. However, we will be choosing a host for our spring 2021 meeting in February 2020. If your organization is interested in hosting, please contact the AAUS office ( for proposal guidelines. All proposals must be received by December 31, 2019.

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2020 AAUS Certification Program Renewals

Attention AAUS Instructors! It is time for your annual AAUS-ITI Instructor Renewal. Please note that this only applies to AAUS Instructors and OM Programs who have chosen to participate in the voluntary certification card program. You must renew annually as an Instructor with International Training (ITI) to maintain status as an AAUS Instructor and be able to register and certify AAUS divers. All renewal forms and instructions are in the AAUS Instructor community resource library. Instructors may access them by logging in at, go to the ‘Members’ tab, ‘Member Profile’. Once at your profile, go to the ‘Participation’ tab and the ‘Communities’ header. Select the ‘AAUS Instructors’ community which will take you to a list of all participating AAUS Instructors. Select the ‘Resource Center’ on the right-hand menu-bar and all documents are in the ‘2019 Renewal’ folder.

STEP 1- AAUS Instructor Renewal Paper renewal - Complete the Instructor Renewal Form and submit the annual instructor renewal fee ($210) via mail. You may have received a renewal package in the mail. Online renewal - If you prefer to renew online at a reduced cost ($175) you may complete this process on the ITI website ( To do so, login to your Instructor Profile, and then choose ‘Tools’, ‘Renew Membership’ from the menu bar. Complete the necessary information and submit the annual instructor renewal fee online with a credit card. Online renewal fee increases after Dec. 15 ($200).

STEP 2- AAUS Facility Renewal AAUS Facilities- as an AAUS instructor you must submit a paper Facility Renewal Form if you are the primary instructor/facility administrator at your AAUS facility. A Facility Fee is not required for AAUS Facilities; you may indicate this in the payment field. Submit this form via mail, fax, or scan and send as a pdf to ( with "AAUS Facility Renewal" in the subject line.

NOTE- the online Facility Renewal process is not available to AAUS Facilities; AAUS Facilities that renew online will be charged a Facility Renewal Fee. AAUS Facilities should instead complete the paper Facility Renewal Form as instructed above.

STEP 3- SDI/TDI Facility Renewal If you are an AAUS instructor and your Facility is also an SDI/TDI Training facility, you must submit a separate Facility Renewal Form for that SDI/TDI training facility, and a Facility Fee for that SDI/TDI facility.

Specific questions regarding the annual renewal process or online interface should be directed to ITI. General questions about the AAUS Certification Program should be directed to the AAUS Certification program coordinator (Chris Rigaud, or the AAUS office (Heather Albright,  

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2020 AAUS Scientific Diving Internship

2020 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2020 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship. Intern applicants must be students from colleges and universities and must have 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 the AAUS. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is January 15, 2020. For more information and to apply visit

2020 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2020 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship. This internship is intended to be research-centric; therefore, training and certification as an AAUS Scientific Diver is a prerequisite and all applicants must be undergraduate students. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will be hosted at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is January 15, 2020. For more information and to apply visit:

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2019 AAUS Foundation Report

In 2019 the AAUS Foundation disbursed $13,407 in scholarship funds, including first place and runner‐up awards for both doctoral and master candidates, the Dr. Lee H Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Training Internship, the Mitchell AAUS Scientific Diving Internship, a Best Student paper award, and a Kevin Flanagan Student Travel award. An additional $24,175 was utillized to revamp the Foundation website and assist with the AAUS websites upgrade.

The annual donation drive at the Vancouver Symposium, combined with efforts earlier in the year, raised $28,831 for scholarships. A challenge grant from one of our own DSOs made 2019 a near record year for fundraising. Bill Powers matched the first $5000 raised by the foundation with $5000 of his own, effectively doubling many donations. Please continue to give generously because, with the Symposium moving to spring of 2021, there will be no opportunity for one on one fundraising in 2020.

Information on the AAUS Foundation, opportunities to make tax deductible donations (just one more month left in 2019) and purchase Symposium prints may be found at

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AAUS Foundation Scholarship Awards 2019

The AAUS Foundation offers competitive research scholarships to both doctoral-level students and master-level students who utilize scientific diving as a principal research tool or study scientific diving. First place awards for both program levels are $3000; second place awards are $1500. A total of 37 proposals were reviewed. Proposals ranged from Antarctic to tropical studies and spanned disciplines from organismal biology to archaeological resource management. Special thanks to the 17 reviewers, and best wishes to all who participated. If you know of a student who could benefit from an AAUS graduate scholarship you can direct them to the Foundation website for more details. Next year's round of proposals will be due on June 30, 2020.
Doctoral-level Awards
1st place Gabriele Keeler-May, University of Otago Distribution and analysis of Undaria pinnatifida haplotypes in New Zealand harbors and a control project to assess effects of large-scale removal on native kelp communities.
2nd place Katelyn Gould, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Coral Restoration Transplantation and Conservation Genetics Approach: Implications for Orbicella annularis in the Florida Keys
Honorable Mention
Joseph Klein, University of California, Santa Cruz
Master-level Awards
1st place Max Liebergesell, San Diego State University Investigating predation on purple urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) within kelp forests and urchin barrens
2nd place Demetra Panos, California State University, Northridge Community contribution to benthic biogeochemical variability in kelp forests
Honorable Mentions
Rachel Best, Florida State University
Liv Wheeler, University of Hawaii
Find out more about the AAUS Foundation Scholars at

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Spring 2020 REEF Marine Conservation Interns

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Key Largo, FL is now accepting applications for Spring 2020 Marine Conservation Interns. REEF’s Marine Conservation Internship provides an in-depth look into REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project and Invasive Lionfish Program. The internship provides diverse experiences including non-profit operations, outreach and education, field experience, data collection and management, public speaking, event planning and advertising. During the four-month internship, you will have many opportunities to dive and volunteer with partner organizations in the Florida Keys and South Florida. More info at