News & Announcements

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WDHOF Scholarships and Training Grants

The Women Divers Hall of Fame ™ (WDHOF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and raising awareness of the contributions of outstanding women divers. WDHOF provides educational, mentorship, financial, and career opportunities to the diving community throughout the world. Each year, WDHOF awards scholarships and training grants that provide financial and educational support to individuals of all ages, particularly those who are preparing for professional careers that involve diving. Applications close on October 31, 2019 at midnight EDT. More information at

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Into the Planet

Jill Heinerth, a Canadian cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, will be giving a talk about her new book, Into the Planet, October 07 at Vancouver Aquarium. She has made TV series for the CBC, the National Geographic channel and the BBC, consulted on movies for directors including James Cameron, and produced documentaries, including We Are Water and Ben's Vortex. Jill's accolades include induction into The Explorers Club and the inaugural class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She is also the inaugural Explorer-in-Residence for The Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and the recipient of Canada's prestigious Polar Medal and the diving world's highest award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. Read the NPR article here; . Doors open for the event at 6PM and program begins at 7PM. This event is free but you MUST register for tickets (limited quantity available). Entry for the event is through AquaQuest Reception at north end of Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Pay parking available adjacent to Aquarium.

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BOD Election Results

The 2019 AAUS Board of Directors (BOD) election results are tallied and the Board congratulates the new Director-at- Large, Scott Chapman and re-elected Secretary, Jessica Keller. Scott will begin his elected term and Jessica will continue hers January 01, 2020. On behalf of the Academy, we thank all the candidates for participating in the election; all are highly qualified individuals committed to the success of the AAUS. Finally, a reminder to membership--if you are interested in serving, many committees would welcome your help; contact BOD members for information.

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2019 AAUS/OWUSS Internships

AAUS partners with Our World Underwater Scholarship Society to offer two internships annually; The Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Internship and the Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship. These internships 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 and hands on experience at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. Intern applications open in mid-October and close December 01st. Organizational Members who are interested in hosting an intern should contact the AAUS office.

Kyra Cippola has been awarded the 2019 Lee H. Somers Scientific diving internship. Kyra is currently a senior at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, pursuing a double major in Environmental Science & Sustainability (ESS) and Italian Studies. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will host this year’s intern. Kyra will be working with Diana Steller and will receive her AAUS science diver certification along with hands-on experience on several on-going research projects.

Liza Hasan has been awarded the 2019 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research internship. She will be graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in May, 2019 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her time at the University of Colorado, she has had the opportunity to conduct research on alpine plant ecology, prairie dog spatial dynamics, and greenback cutthroat trout restoration. University of Alaska will host this year’s intern. Liza will be working with Brenda Konar on examining how watersheds with different amounts of glacial cover impact coastal communities.

Find out more about these interns and keep up with their summer adventures at

Update:  The 2019 Somers and Mitchell interns are off and diving!  Keep up with their adventures this summer through their blogs.  We are excited to see what all they get to experience and learn at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the University of Alaska and beyond.

Lee H. Somers Scientific diving intern – Kyra Cipolla:

Mitchell Scientific Diving Research intern –
Liza Hasan:

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2019 AAUS Board of Directors Elections

The 2019 AAUS election is now open and close June 30. The election is open to Full Voting Members (individual and OM Reps) in good standing. Below you will find the slate of candidates. Below are links to candidate bios and election questions. All voting is to take place on the new website. Please follow the directions below and be an active part of your Academy and VOTE!

To write in a candidate, email name of the write-in candidate to two of the election committee members:
• Rick Riera-Gomez, Chair (
• George Peterson (
• Rob Robbins (
• Lora Pride (

Secretary Candidates:
Robbie Christian, University of Miami
Jessica Keller, NOAA

Candidate Bios Found Here

Director-at-Large Candidates:
Scott Chapman, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Nicole Grinnan, University of West Florida
Laurie Penland, Smithsonian Institute
Addie Waters, University of New England

Candidate Bios Found Here

Instructions for Online Voting:
1. Login at Your username is the email address on file with AAUS. Password can be reset with "forgot password" if needed.
2. Go to Members Tab then Members Profile
3. Blue Vote Now button below member info block on the left hand side of the page. (You may be required to sign in again)
4. Follow onscreen instructions to submit vote.

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Challenge Match Courtesy of One of Our Own

Bill Power (IM member since 2004), DSO for the LA County Sanitation Districts (OM member since 2014), recently contacted the Foundation with regard to an inheritance from a relative with an interest in Bill’s work as a scientific diver. “I figured I would share some of the wealth with an organization that can further the goals of others with similar interests” Bill explained. At the very end of 2018, Bill donated $5000 to support the bubble breaker at the upcoming Vancouver symposium and agreed to donate up to another $5000 this year to match any and all donations to the Foundation ( between now and the symposium. Every dollar that he is donating is being used to leverage additional funding for scholarships. Please don’t let this opportunity to double the impact of your giving pass; it only takes a few minutes to access the website and donate.

Bill was certified in 1984 at UCLA and spent one of his final quarters in college taking marine biology classes and doing scientific diving at the Wrigley Institute at Catalina Island. He also worked at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and New Mexico Natural History Museum as an aquarist and was involved in specimen collections using diving. He has been with LA County Sanitation Districts for 30 years doing marine biology, 23 of these as a scientific diver, performing transect dives, bioaccumulation collections and fish surveys.

Everyone please, raise your glass to Bill and thank him; he’s really going above and beyond!

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AAUS Student Scholarships 2019

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 Masters and Doctoral level submissions. Additionally, the AAUS may award $1500 scholarships to the second ranked proposals in each category.

Applicant Must:
• Be a current member of AAUS (student or full member). Please review the difference in a member and AAUS scientific diver described in the FAQs here. Prospective applicants can join at
• Be accepted and enrolled in a Master's program (for the Master's Program award) or a Ph.D. program (for the Ph.D. program award).
• Submit online application form.
• Submit a proposal of 3 to 5 pages describing the research methods, significance of the research, and a budget (if part of a larger budget, specify how AAUS funds will be spent). Must be uploaded through submission form.
• A letter of support from a faculty advisor must be submitted electronically to
• Agree to write an article for the E-Slate describing the proposed research within one year of scholarship award.
• Present the results of their research at an AAUS symposium or other scientific meeting within one year of the project’s completion.

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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Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award

The Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Award is a competitive award developed to support the professional development of students engaged in diving science or the study of diving science. The award was created in memory of Kevin Flanagan (1970-2012), an AAUS board member (2009-2011) and diving safety officer (1998-2012). Donations to fund this award can be given at Please indicate "K Flanagan Fund" on the donation page. Join us in our efforts to honor Kevin and provide students with much needed travel funds.

The Flanagan Travel Award provides up to 3 students with an $800 travel stipend to attend the annual AAUS Diving for Science Symposium as well as a waiver of symposium registration fees. Students may apply for this award independently of or in addition to the research award.

Applicant must:
• Be a current member of AAUS (student or full member). Prospective applicants can join at
• Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student.
• Complete the online form and upload a proposal letter describing the professional benefits to be derived from attending an AAUS meeting and a budget for travel expenses requested from AAUS.
• A letter of support from a faculty advisor must be submitted electronically to

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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2019 AAUS Bylaws Change

Recently the AAUS Board of Directors was made aware of an apparent error in the AAUS Bylaws pertaining to the terms of service for Officers. As per the 2016 version (excerpted below), it is written that Officers are to serve 3 year terms, however, current and past practice has been for Officers, including President-Elect and President to serve only 2 year terms.

ARTICLE V. Section 4. Term, Removal and Filling Vacancies. (a) Term. The term of office for all Officers shall begin on the first day of January and shall continue for three years and until a successor is elected or appointed and qualified.

The Board investigated this apparent error and determined that it occurred sometime in 2011, during a previous Bylaws change/review. There exists no record in the BOD Meeting Minutes (2011-present) of any discussion or vote pertaining to such a change. As such, the Bylaws will be corrected to read that Officers serve 2 year terms (4 years total service for President-Elect/President.) While discussing this correction, it was proposed that the total term for ‘Presidents’ be rearranged to 1 year as President-Elect, followed by 2 years as President, followed by 1 year as Past-President. This preserves the total term of President (4 years) but in slightly different capacities.

Below is a document outlining the rationale and specifics of this proposed bylaws change.  AAUS is asking all members to review this document and provide any comments via the linked form below by May 15, 2019.

2019 AAUS Bylaws Change

Comment Form:

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REU Program Looking for AAUS Divers!

The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies is now accepting applications for the 2019 Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in Coastal Ocean Processes. We encourage students who are interested in conducting independent but guided research in marine and coastal ocean systems to apply! No prior research experience needed! We especially encourage students from underrepresented communities and research-limited or marine science limited institutions to apply!

Application deadline: Feb. 22, 2019. Program Dates: Jun 10 - Aug 16, 2019 (10 weeks)
Program Location: USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island, CA
Requirements: Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or national to apply. Must have completed have completed at least one year of undergraduate study by Summer 2019 and must plan to be enrolled as a continuing undergraduate in Fall 2019.
Research Topics broadly include microbial diversity and ecology, biogeochemistry, hydrology, behavioral ecology, comparative physiology, invertebrate and fish ecology, macroalgal ecology and physiology.

Seeking AAUS certified divers for two of the projects! More information and the application can be found at .

Please contact Diane Kim ( for questions.

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2019 Pacific Northwest DSO meeting

Over 50 institutions conduct dive operations in the Pacific Northwest. Every other year dive safety officers and managers gather to exchange information. Topics covering conservation and research efforts, dive equipment and safety improvements dominate the day. Don’t miss this event! Our focus this year is connection. Through small group discussions and time spent engaged in problem solving. Open to organizations interested in sharing research and improving the safety of work conducted underwater.

February 26th at Point Defiance  Aquarium.
No cost to participants. 
Limited capacity, Register early (registration is an email and completed atlas form send to

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LUMCON AAUS Science Diver Field Course

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium will be offering a two week AAUS scientific diver field course, July 21- August 02, 2019. 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 inshore low visibility conditions and offshore oil rigs 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 $1600 all inclusive, except for transportation to and from LUMCON. An application and list of prerequisites can be requested by email though or

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Northeast DSO Meeting

The Northeast Diving Officers will convene for an informal meeting at the Boston Sea Rovers show, Saturday March 9, 2019, 1-4pm. Stay tuned for meeting room location and other details. See the Sea Rovers website for details about this weekend ( Contact UMaine DSO Chris Rigaud for questions or to submit agenda topics (

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FSU Summer Internship

The McCoy Lab at Florida State University seeks two research interns to conduct fieldwork in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean during a 6-week period in June-July 2019. All fieldwork will be conducted on SCUBA. Research in the McCoy Lab focuses on mechanisms that retain ecological and biogeochemical function of coastal ecosystems. This is an unpaid position. Travel to and from Bonaire and lodging at a communal apartment will be provided, excluding meals. Candidates must have a valid AAUS diving certification, or an international equivalent, enriched Air Nitrox certification, and be at least 18 years or older by June 1, 2019. Experience conducting research is preferred, but specific knowledge of Caribbean marine ecology is not required. See full position description and application details on AAUS Job Board.

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2018 OM Statistics Submission

Please hold off on submitting your 2018 OM statistics pending the completion of the statistics module on the new website. We anticipate the module being ready for submissions by mid to late January and will communicate directly with DSOs on submission instructions. We apologize for this delay. Bear with us as we continue to work to improve the efficiency of our web reporting and streamline the membership’s online interaction.

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2019 OM Dues

2019 AAUS OM dues are now due. OMs can print an invoice and pay via credit card on the website. Instructions were attached to the January Eslate and can be found in the Resource Library/Website Tutorials. Alternatively, OMs can print an invoice online and mail in a check to the address, listed below.
PO Box 9067
Mobile, AL 36691-9067

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Lloyd Austin

Lloyd Austin passed away in December, losing his battle with pneumonia. Lloyd was the DSO at UC Berkeley for 30 years, starting their program in the 60's, and was one of the Founding Fathers of AAUS. He was passionate about diving (he was still diving locally in Monterey/Carmel in his 80's) and people and brought the two together creating an incredible community of science divers that have stayed in touch over the many years. Below is a recent DAN biography article about Lloyd.

"Is this safe?" I still hear the voice of scientific diving pioneer Lloyd Austin in my head each time I dive. From 1967 to 1996, Austin taught research diving at the University of California, Berkeley. He remains passionate about the ocean, marine sciences and dive safety long after crafting a meaningful career focused on research diving. Sitting in his living room in Berkeley Hills, California, the remarkably fit 86- year-old Austin laughs as he tells his story: "My mother was convinced someday I would drown." As a teenager on California's North Coast in 1947, Austin walked through the surf alone to a depth of 12 feet in the frigid ocean using an oxygen tank he bought at a military surplus store. Wearing only a bathing suit, a dive mask and a breathing device designed for World War II pilots, he spent several minutes gasping for air and inhaling a gurgling mix of salt water and oxygen. When he sensed the tank and regulator were unsafe, he marched back through the surf and up a hill above the shore, where the valve immediately burst with a blast of oxygen. Electrolysis had etched a wormlike trail in the valve, causing it to fail.

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1952 and enduring a series of "deadly boring" jobs, Austin decided to follow his passion. He learned to freedive with the SF Cormorants, a San Francisco dive club. After a scuba course with the YMCA, then an instructor-training class with the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), he returned to Berkeley to take a zoology class studying microtechnique. After learning to slice, preserve and stain tissue samples for viewing through microscopes, his professor asked him to help teach the class. In the early 1960s, Austin began assisting scientists at the University of California Bodega Marine Laboratory and the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco. By 1961 Austin was teaching full time at Berkeley. After lobbying for years, in 1966 Austin finally convinced the Diving Control Board to train research divers at UC Berkeley. For the next 30 years he taught the research diving class and served as dive safety officer and chair of the Division of Diving Control. Austin focused on training divers for extreme conditions, designing exercises to help students gain confidence and avoid panic. "We didn't know anything at first," he jokes. But with first-year students Gay Ostarello, Ron Roth and later John Ostarello, Austin built a curriculum that physically and emotionally challenged students. The "bailout" exercise required students to hook their tanks and weight belts to the side of a Zodiac inflatable boat bouncing in the Pacific, climb aboard and jump back into the swells with 50 pounds of gear in their arms. Ideally, they would put their gear on after descending 15 to 20 feet to the seafloor. The exhausted students, however, often dropped their gear and had to dive to retrieve items scattered on the seafloor before trying again. Many students could not pass the required exercises until the final class. Some failed.

"I cried in the locker room after pool sessions. I wondered if I'd ever pass," recalls Jenn Caselle, who took the course in the 1980s and is now a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she runs a research lab. Austin's policies were controversial. By flunking divers, he upset biology students and professors. Some people in the scientific diving community privately wondered if Austin's exercises were too harsh, if he was crazy or if he might someday see a student killed in the ocean. Steve Clabuesch, dive safety officer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, explained that many dive officers fear the liability of pushing students in the ocean as Austin did. But according to Bob Willson, an early instructor who later became a fighter pilot, the dive program succeeded because of Austin's discipline in weeding out students who couldn't meet safety or proficiency standards. Austin's safety record suggests that he was not crazy. His 760 certified divers logged more than 130,000 dives. There were no deaths or known cases of decompression sickness. The only injuries were one broken leg and three ruptured eardrums. In contrast, DAN data show accident rates for various organizations ranging from 5 to 152 injuries per 100,000 dives — including drowning deaths, pulmonary injuries and decompression sickness; many accidents were caused by avoidable mistakes.

Austin pioneered a 68-year career in dive safety and marine science, logging 7,000 dives along the way. At 86, he still dives in the 50°F waters of Monterey, California, and around the world. He trained a generation of marine biologists who went on to conduct research, run marine labs and oversee diving control boards. Some ran underwater archaeology projects on ancient Phoenician ships or dived under 8-foot-thick sheets of ice in the Antarctic. Some work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "I made hundreds of dives working on my Ph.D., studying California hydrocorals," Ostarello explained. "I used more than 40 buddies from the UC program … and could not have done it without such well-trained divers." At lunch with Austin in Berkeley, I mentioned that I would be using nitrox on an upcoming dive trip. He lectured me sternly about the dangers of using nitrox at depth. A dive buddy leaned over and joked, "Face it, you're a dead man." Austin may occasionally sound like someone's parent, but thanks to him each time I descend into the ocean I ask myself, "Is this safe?"

By Steven Peletz

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2019 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 ($200) via mail. You may have received a renewal package in the mail. Online renewal - If you prefer to renew online at a reduced cost ($165) 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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AAUS Foundation 2018 Update

Our first year with two Internships - the Somers Scientific Diver Training Internship and the Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship - was a success due in large part to the efforts of Heather, Chris Rigaud, and Jenna Walker from OWUSS. Many thanks to Martha Somers, Chuck and Kathy Mitchell, and George Wozencraft for their financial support. The Foundation also funded first place and runner-up awards for both doctoral and master’s candidates, a Best Student paper award, and two Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Awards. Work continued on the fund-raising strategy thanks to yeoman effort by Jim Nimz from the National Park Service and we developed an enhanced social media presence through the efforts of AAUS Board member Jessica Keller. Foundation BOD members Ted Maney and Bill Dent stepped down from the Board and we thank them for their service. Ross Whippo, AAUS Scholarship Chair, and newly elected Director, Jim Nimz, are new members of the Foundation BOD. The Annual Bubblebreaker Auction and raffles at the Tahoe symposium raised about $16,000 for scholarships. Our thanks to Heather and the many sponsors of the symposium for making this so successful. AAUS Foundation has great products for everyone on your holiday list! Checkout the beautiful images by Seacology along with a variety of Kathy English Art products! Tax deductible donations are also accepted at the Foundation website. Donate now to get that deduction for 2018.

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Don Canestro

On 9 November, 2018, just after his 64th birthday, Donald (Don) Canestro, was diving with his friend Dan Richards, in Cambria California. When he surfaced near their kayak, he said he did not feel well, then passed out. Dan got him to shore, performed CPR, and arranged for a helicopter to take Don to the hospital, but Don, who had survived so much before, died from cardiac complications.

It is ironic that Don, a former Dive Safety Officer, died while diving. For so many years, he was the person others relied on because of his knowledge, expertise and prowess underwater. But it is fitting that Don’s last day was spent in the ocean. Don was a dedicated waterman: he ocean swam, surfed, free-dove, scuba dived, and played underwater hockey. He could recite Navy dive tables, rebuild a regulator, and captain a research vessel. And Don knew more about the ocean and its inhabitants than most marine biologists.

Don’s professional life revolved around his love for marine biology and natural history. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1977, he worked as a park ranger for the East Bay Regional Parks. When he tired of motorists running over his traffic cones, he filled them with cement, and watched the damage unfold. He loved the seasonal work because it allowed him to grow his hair out, travel much of the year, and keep in shape for the next triathlon. While traveling through Baja, Don got interested in diving. He became a dive instructor, then a Channel Islands National Park diver. In 1988, Don earned his M.S. in marine biology at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories by studying canopy effects on the growth and survivorship of understory kelp. Some of his Moss Landing cohort moved on to UC Santa Barbara to pursue a PhD. Hearing the news about sunshine and pretty women, Don headed south to UCSB to work as a marine biologist. This meant diving the Santa Barbara Channel, Antarctica, and French Polynesia to research topics ranging from offshore oil drilling to fish population growth. At UCSB, Don integrated with the graduate students as a roommate, mentor, basketball teammate, and romantic interest. He fell in love often - and got his heart broken perhaps as much. He’d famously invite his female companions to a home-cooked dinner consisting of abalone he’d pried off the rocks. And it would be the best abalone they ever tasted.

From 1993-2000 Don was the Dive Safety Officer at UC Santa Cruz, where he deepened his commitment to training skilled scientific divers. His mentorship in the diving community is legendary, and his connections to Santa Cruz remain deep. But by 2000, Don and his new wife Miranda were ready for a change. They found it when he became the first and only director of the UCSB-managed Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve in Cambria, CA.

These were happy, purposeful and satisfying years. Don reconnected with his first daughter Jessica, and his younger daughters, Carla and Stella were born. The family spent their days caring for a wild piece of coastline and a rustic ranch. Nights were spent in a wonderful, old, small adobe home with panoramic ocean views. Don learned to enjoy ranching and terrestrial biology. Managing the reserve integrated his professional skills, scientific interest, and gregarious nature. He could fix anything, especially something heavy or dangerous, but his real forte was promoting research, education and outreach to thousands of students and scientists from across California and the world. It will be hard to fill his big shoes at Rancho Marino.

Perhaps the best word to describe Don is “BIG”. Big body, big hands, big muscles, big mustache, big smile, big laugh, big attitude, but mostly, big heart. Don’s bigness flowed from his Italian heritage, in what was almost a caricature. He was a great cook and loved to feed people. A fantastic storyteller, he laughed loudly at his own anecdotes, and more than occasionally at his flatulence. He’d milk a goat, tell a joke about teats, and then make you a latte. If you were lucky, he’d pen some sarcastic lyrics, and set them to a blues riff on his harmonica to roast you at your wedding or retirement or birthday. Don was loud as hell in just about everything he did. Young Don was a rascal and hellion, known in Mexico as “El Testosterone Caminando.” But Don evolved as he aged. He stopped driving through Baja at night after hitting a cow. He grudgingly gave up his moustache. He was a playboy and reluctant parent early on, and a loyal husband and doting father in round two (including teaching his two youngest daughters to SCUBA dive this past summer).

Countless people with connections to Don mourn his passing. Our lives are far richer for having known him. He showed us how to appreciate nature and enjoy life to the fullest. Don also gave us the courage to do things we would not have tackled on our own, whether it be to paddle out into big surf, or drive the Baja peninsula, or replace a drive shaft (usually somewhere on the Baja peninsula). He also set the bar for what it meant to be a friend. And while many of us felt Don to be one of our closest friends, he was, in fact, a close friend to hundreds. He was not only compassionate and sensitive, but he was also perhaps the most gregarious, and generous people-person to walk the Earth and dive its waters.

Don Canestro leaves behind three daughters: Jessica Norkoski, 33, Carla Canestro, 15, Stella Canestro, 13, grandson, Henry Norkoski, 1 and his wife Miranda Canestro. A celebration of Don’s life is planned for March 2019 in Cambria.