Florida Keys Community College will offer a two-week intensive Scientific Diver course from June 23 to July 6, 2014 at its Key West Campus. The course will enable students in marine-related fields—but from colleges or organizations without established research diving programs—to earn an American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diver certification.
Course topics include: the role of the research diver, data collection methods and experimental design; advanced diving physiology and emergency management; nautical archaeology theory and methods; coral reef ecology and monitoring; and preparing scientific reports. Half of each day will be spent in the field diving in the College’s on-site underwater training lagoon, on historical shipwrecks and nearby reefs within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (including a dive with the Coral Restoration Foundation). Course prerequisites include Open Water scuba certification.
According to course instructor, Dr. Alex Brylske, “As funding gets tight, some institutions are cutting back or eliminating their scientific diving programs, making research diver training more of a challenge for students. With our summer program we hope to fill this void…and spending two weeks diving in Key West isn’t a bad thing either!”
In 2011, FKCC became only the second community college in America to be granted AAUS membership—and the only one in Florida. The designation means that all scientific diving activities at the College’s James E. Lockwood Jr. School of Diving and Underwater Technology will function under the standards and guidelines of the AAUS. Students will enjoy vaster internship and employment opportunities through the affiliation. Organized in 1977, the Academy’s primary role is to sanction and support scientific diving research programs, enabling scientists and students to operate under exemption from OSHA commercial diving regulations.