Proceedings of the 2013 AAUS/ESDP Curaçao Joint International Scientific Diving Symposium, October 24-27, 2013

The American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and European Scientific Diving Panel (ESDP) Joint International Scientific Diving Symposium in Curaçao, October 24-27 2013, marks the third time that the AAUS has held its annual meeting in partnership with other international scientific diving organisations. Jointly sponsored AAUS symposia occurred in 1985 with CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques; Mitchell, 1985) and in 1998 with the Canadian Association for Underwater Science (CAUS; Hartwick et al., 1998).

The AAUS and the ESDP share commonalities in their mission and objectives. They both represent a considerable number of scientific divers performing diving-based research covering the full range of scientific disciplines. Underwater scientific research is often conducted on an international scale in regions that frequently face growing pressures on resources and increased threats of pollution, urbanization of habitats, invasion by alien species, extreme weather events and sea-level change. The relatively shallow and multifaceted nature of many coastal areas can restrict the types of platforms that can be deployed in support of relevant research. Scientific diving is a cost-effective high-quality research tool that can sustain a wide range of scientific disciplines within operationally expedient timeframes. It has particular use in complex environments such as subtidal rocky substrates or urbanized habitats (marinas, wrecks, offshore wind farms, etc.) that are routinely inaccessible for study by other methods. Scientific diving has also provided unique multidisciplinary datasets that add value to other ocean observation platforms (Lang et al., 2013).

This symposium convenes scientists of multiple nationalities in an attempt to reduce insularity, encourage exchange of ideas and operational protocols, and expand the worldwide network of scientific divers. This joint initiative provides a forum that will highlight some of the research findings from within the international research communities. We are experiencing a developmental period of large-scale multi­ national research programs established to observe, record and monitor change over various geographical scales. Engendering a research framework for scientific divers that facilitates multi-national collaboration is of immediate and long-term benefit.

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