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Miami to Host National Symposium on Scuba Science; 'The Helium Workshop Will be Particularly Interesting'

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VIRGINIA KEY, Florida -- For divers exploring the ocean for science, the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) hosts an annual symposium, and this year it will be held in Miami, March 5-10, hosted by and at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. In addition to presentations from active science divers, the symposium also will feature an introduction to helium diving, diving first aid, a boating safety workshop, and dive excursions. Jarrod Jablonski, world-record cave diver and founder of Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) and Halcyon Manufacturing, and Dr. Morgan Wells, a former NOAA diving safety officer, are the symposium's two keynote speakers.

"We have a nice mix of oral presentations that cover a wide range of topics. There will be talks on benthic work and fish studies as well as on diving techniques and technology," said Rick Riera-Gomez, symposium chairman. "The helium workshop will be particularly interesting to divers going into those deeper waters where we need breathing-gas alternatives."

Doug Kesling from NOAA's Undersea Research Center at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, will lead that helium diving workshop being held the first two days of the conference. It will cover basic theory and techniques used in this type of diving and include classroom, pool, and open-water work.

Bob Weisman, Florida International University's diving safety officer, will lead the Boating Workshop that covers some of the basic concerns in administering small day-boat programs. Along with some class work, participants will spend some boat time on the water.

Divers Alert Network (DAN) Instructor/Trainer Eric Douglas and AAUS's Bill Dent will teach a DAN Diving First Aid for Professional Divers (DFA) instructor crossover course. This course combines the different AAUS safety requirements (e.g., CPR, first aid, oxygen administration) into one course, and its format reduces information overlap, class time, cost, and paperwork.

Additionally, a large part of the conference features science divers presenting papers on their research and underwater exploits and an opportunity to interact and share experiences with other science divers.

Registration is available online at

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