Posted on March 9th, 2017 No comments
A lot of people don’t know this but formal dive training as we know it today was born out of a relationship between the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the County of Los Angeles in the early 1950’s. As a matter of public safety in response to a rash of scuba-related deaths, officials in Los Angeles decided to develop formalized standards and procedures to create a system by which divers could be safely certified. The newly formed County Underwater Unit, looking to pursue a point of authority in the field, reached out to SIO and their Dive Safety Specialist Conrad Limbaugh for help developing standardized training for recreational divers. This resulted in the first formal instructor training program for scuba certification. The rest is history. All, and I mean all, of the current training agencies and their procedures can be traced directly back to the Los Angeles County program and this pioneering partnership.
The partnership continues as every year the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructor Certification Course returns to SIO for a weekend of hard ocean training and expert lectures. The photo below is from 1966 and it marked the first year the county handed out the Conrad Limbaugh Award, accepted posthumously by Connie’s widow Nancy. This award remains one of the most prestigious honors in diving.
When people ask you where diving started, you can now tell them. See you out there.
Posted on September 7th, 2016 No comments
Posted on May 5th, 2016 No comments
While you may not think that rescuing fish from a flood control basin would be interesting, read this release from the DFW regarding the rescue of hundreds of fish near the Sacramento Delta and you might change your mind. With ESA-listed species included, hundreds of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon were removed from the Fremont and Tisdale Weirs and re-released into the Sacramento River this month.
Making this rescue all the more interesting is that DFW technicians implanted many of the fish with tracking devices to provide scientists with both survival and spawning data. In addition, DNA testing was conducted on the salmon to determine specific seasonal runs. Very Cool. Read the release below.
Posted on April 28th, 2016 No comments
With Christian McDonald being honored this week by the Los Angeles County Underwater Unit, it’s only appropriate to take a look back at the first DSO at Scripps, Conrad Limbaugh. Pictured below, Connie was truly the innovator in terms of the use of scuba equipment in scientific studies. Starting at UCLA in 1949, Limbaugh moved to SIO in 1950 and started to develop the standardized training that became the basis not only for the scientific dive community but for the entire new burgeoning recreational scuba movement in the United States. Appointed “Dive Safety Specialist” in 1953, Limbaugh spent 7 years at SIO helping change ocean research as we know it. Tragically, he died in a cave diving incident in 1960 at the age of 36. Today, there are multiple awards named for Limbaugh including the Conrad Limbaugh Award for Scientific Diving Leadership by the AAUS. The color picture below was provided from the private collection of Dr. Andreas Rechnitzer, a good friend of Connie’s and an amazing SIO figure in his own right. You can read more about Connie here and Andy here.
Posted on April 24th, 2016 No comments
Last night, Scripps Scientific Diving Officer Christian McDonald was named an honorary Underwater Instructor by the Los Angeles County Underwater Unit at the programs annual awards dinner for his contributions supporting their Underwater Instructor Certification Course. This program, developed in 1954 by LA County lifeguards participating in the then newly developed SIO scientific diving course, is the worlds oldest public safety program and has certified over 1100 underwater instructors since. Christian joins only 7 other persons, including SIO DSO emeritus James Stewart and SIO graduate Dr. Wheeler J. North, as honorary instructors for the county of Los Angeles. Congratulations Christian.
Posted on December 5th, 2015 No comments
“The oceans are extremely important, not only to our climate, but to our health and our global ecosystems…. For climate change, they play a central role. About a quarter of carbon emissions that we emit every year end up in the ocean.”
-Yassir Eddebar, PhD candidate, CMBC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
This year’s United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris will write a treaty to address climate change. It’s taken decades to get here. UCSD has sent several graduate students to the conference to learn about and participate in the global system of science policy.
Read more about their work this week in their blog on the San Diego Union Tribune.
Watch Yassir on KPBS just before they left for Paris:
Posted on November 12th, 2015 No comments
What would life be like if you chased truly wild places … for work?
Each year I’m lucky enough to travel for fieldwork. I’m a PhD student here at Scripps, studying coral reef ecology. Each year I make short videos to communicate our work, our lives as a rock stars… I mean scientists… and the truly wild landscapes we briefly call home. This year I focused on the people behind the science. What kind of person takes a job on an (almost) deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Do you have what it takes? Would you want to? Below is a teaser trailer for a mini-mini-documentary coming soon. Everyone has their own path to happiness. For some of us, that path is winding, isolated and full of weird hairy spiders. For the love of science, nature, and exploration: Welcome to the Edge of the World.
Posted on July 20th, 2015 1 comment
It is always good to be reminded why I like being a professor, and this was one of those days. Every summer we have lead a CMBC cruise to the offshore waters of San Diego. This year we made two amazing net hauls next to the Coronado Bank. The first was from ~200 m and was full of some 170,000 tuna crabs–the harbingers of el Nino–who have been mass stranding on the beaches of late. Well, now we know where they come from! I felt like I was on a trawler from the days-of-yore before industrial fishing. This haul also had a neat octopus, urchins, fish and spider crabs.
Then came the mid water tow at 550 m, and it was loaded with wonders too–the kind that Hollywood film makers should love and are the stuff of nightmares as you toss and turn in the dawn hours. We caught three kinds of Dragonfish, two species of Hatchet Fish, an angler, a Snipe eel with a whiplike tail, and the most wild of all–a Loose Jaw, that looks like it was mangled, but really has almost nothing holding its jaw in place! These fish reside in a world that is physically not that far from ours (it probably takes 5 minutes to walk 500 m!) but is almost totally different anyway! Majesty! Wonder! Thrills! And Fascination!
What gets me is how alien their world is. These are fish attract their prey with lighted lures, sense their prey by pressure, and make sure they don’t lose their prey by attacking with huge nasty teeth. The hatchet fish have eyes that permanently look upward to spot the faint shadow of prey above them. And most everybody has rows of photophores on their bellies to keep from casting a shadow on some larger fish below them. The photophores are like miniature flood lights, complete with a black case and a crystalline lens. The world is full of things more bizarre and exciting than most people know. Beat’s landing on the moon any day…It really was one of the great adventures in my life….
Best is to have a crowd of students to share the adventure.
Posted on June 23rd, 2014 No comments
We are happy to announce that the CMBC Summer Class 2014 will be sharing its ideas about ocean and coastal resilience through a series of blogs. You can visit the blog to learn about biodiversity and resilience, economic vulnerability and resilience, and how human impacts may affect the resilience of an ecosystem and a community.
–Kathryn Mengerink, SIO Summer Course Coordinator
Posted on January 26th, 2011 No comments
The recent rise in gasoline prices has got a lot of lawmakers looking for ways to bring the prices down for their constituents and it seems the solutions always come back to drilling offshore here in California. Despite a pledge from President Obama to not allow any new drilling off the West Coast, there still remains a uneasy feeling among Pacific range lawmakers. This has led Senators from California, Oregon, and Washington to propose new legislation formalizing the Presidents un-codified pledge. Though it’s not expected to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled house, it’s a shot across the bow that shows West Coasters are serious about there being no new drilling in our local waters. Enjoy a more in-depth article from the LA Times below: