AAUS Awards

Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented biennially to an individual from the scientific diving community who has made a significant contribution in advancing underwater science and technology. Open to anyone in the scientific diving community. Nominations from the AAUS general membership. Voted and approved by the Past Presidents of AAUS and Past Award recipients. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office.  Note:  Prior to 2017, this award was offered annually.  As of 2017, this award is being offered every two years in rotation with the Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership.  

2019 Awardee:  Stephen C. Jewett
The 2019 American Academy of Underwater Sciences recipient of the Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement award is Stephen C Jewett. Stephen C. Jewett, Ph.D., is Research Professor Emeritus at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks. He retired in 2015 after 42 years of service. 

Over those years, Stephen conducted research on benthic ecology, trophic interactions, benthic impact assessments, Arctic ecosystems, pollution/contamination monitoring, and scuba techniques for scientific divers. Most of his research has focused on impact assessment issues in marine waters, such as effects from El Niño, the Kasatochi Volcano eruption, commercial trawling, log storage, offshore dredging, mercury and radionuclide contamination, Alyeska Pipeline Terminal operations, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, offshore/onshore mining and the Sitka Airport extension. 

Dr. Jewett has published 110 peer/editor-reviewed journal articles/book chapters, many as senior author. He conducted much of his research throughout Alaska using cold-water scuba diving techniques. His work has led to the discoveries of 22 new marine species, including one alga, one sea anemone, two bryozoans and 18 sea stars. He was an invited speaker to seven countries. 

Dr. Jewett’s  honors include: 2018 Wally Noerenberg Award for Fishery Excellence (co-recipient); 2015 Emeritus Research Professor, UAF; 2015 Commencement Grand Marshall, UAF; 2013 Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership; 2011 Career Achievement Award, John Brown University Alumni Association; 2006 Fulbright Scholar; Senior Specialist in Environmental Science at Catholic University of the North, CHILE; 2004 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award, UAF; and 2004 The Wildlife Society Wildlife Publications Award for Outstanding Monograph (co-recipient).

Dr. Jewett has demonstrated an outstanding marine research career.  He also served as DSO for 27 years, was instrumental in the formation of the UA Scientific Diving Program, and to UA becoming an organizational member of AAUS in 1990. We congratulate Dr. Jewett on his significant achievements
The AAUS Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award is presented biennially to an individual from the scientific diving community who has made a significant contribution in advancing underwater science and technology.


Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership

Presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution in diving safety and diving leadership on behalf of the scientific diving community. Open to any active member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Nominated and voted upon by the AAUS general membership. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office. Note: Beginning in 2016, this award is being offered every two years in rotation with the Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Award. 

2020 Awardee:  Lloyd Austin

The 2020 AAUS Conrad Limbaugh Award for Scientific Diving Leadership goes to Lloyd Austin.  Lloyd was a pioneer in the world of diving who helped develop the field of underwater scientific research. He served as U.C. Berkeley’s Diving Safety Officer and Chair of the Division of Diving Control from 1967 through 1996 and helped usher in the modern era of underwater scientific research diving.  At Berkeley, he trained 760 scientists and students to conduct underwater research safely. His students logged over 130,000 dives around the world.

In the early 1980’s Austin (along with peer DSO’s) helped protect scientific diving at universities from what would have become the crushing weight of proposed OSHA supervision.  He was instrumental in defeating proposed legislation that would have classified research diving at universities as commercial diving – which was and is subject to costly and stringent OSHA supervision and monitoring. The legislation would have made it impossible to conduct research on budgets typical of most university research programs. In Washington D.C., Austin and fellow dive officers argued successfully that diving safety officers at universities could manage safety programs through the AAUS without OSHA supervision. 

Austin designed and built U.C. Berkeley’s challenging research dive training program, the protocols and infrastructure for diving safety and training – which maintained an impeccable safety record. In over 130,000 dives by 760 UC divers, there were no deaths or known cases of decompression sickness.  There was one broken leg and three ruptured eardrums – all of which healed quickly. 

Austin mentored countless marine biologists, assisted in designing safe research techniques, and guided marine scientists in their personal and professional development. Graduates of Austin’s coursework now lead multiple university, marine lab and national scientific programs.  Austin gave scientific divers at Berkeley the capability and confidence needed to dive safely, lead Marine labs, and become diving safety officers themselves.  Students became program managers, conducted research in places as far ranging as Europe, the Middle East and Antarctica, and uncovered 2000-year-old artifacts on underwater archeological sites in the Mediterranean.  Some trainees became experts on California hydrocorals, reef ecosystems, and encrusting corals. Some work at NOAA and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  From biological research to sustainability to tracking sharks in the Pacific, Austin’s students contribute to scientific discovery around the world today. 

Austin first entered and fell in love with the ocean as a 3-year-old in 1934. As a teenager in 1947, he draped an oxygen tank over his neck and walked into the ocean using the WWII surplus aviator’s tank and regulator to breathe underwater. Austin passed away in 2018 at the age of 87. Along the way, he logged over 7,000 dives.

Austin’s enduring impact on diving safety and research began after he successfully pushed for U.C. Berkeley to train research divers. He lobbied for this after helping rescue many ill-trained and ill-equipped divers visiting Bodega Marine Lab in the 60s. Austin’s imprint on diving, marine sciences and on the AAUS will be felt for years to come as his disciples teach new generations of researchers to dive safely while conducting scientific research around the world.

AAUS Service Awards

AAUS Service Awards are presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Academy.  Distinguished service awards are presented to an individual board member of the Academy whom has provided outstanding service to AAUS and its mission.  Awards are presented at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Current BOD Members are not eligible during their term of office.  

Current Awardees