Former Dauphin Island Sea Lab researcher Dr. Michael Dardeau was recently recognized by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences with the Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership.
The award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution in diving safety and diving leadership on behalf of the scientific diving community.
Dardeau began as a sport diver in Northwest Florida in 1970. Shortly after becoming a graduate student at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, he qualified as a scientific diver in 1978. Dardeau was appointed to the AAUS board of directors in 2004, serving under six presidents as Statistics Chair and Treasurer.
"Operationally, I have served as a dive team leader since the early 1980’s and Diving Safety Officer for the DISL Diving Control Board since the early 1990’s," Dr. Dardeau shared. "I oversaw most day to day diving operations, equipment purchase and maintenance, scientific diver training, small boat training and operations and ensured compliance with American Academy of Underwater Sciences standards."
Before retiring in 2015, Dardeau spent most of his 33 years at DISL as supervisor of technical support and vessel operations.
"During my career as a marine scientist, I contributed to over 40 publications including a taxonomic monograph on coral reef shrimp, characterizations of hard bottom communities in the Gulf of Mexico, natural history studies of temperate gorgonians and analyses of AAUS annual statistics," Dardeau said. "I also chaired Technical Advisory Committees for the local National Estuarine Research Reserve and National Estuary Program and received over $1 million in extramural funding to construct and support coastal observing systems in Alabama."
Licensed as an EMT-Basic in 1981, Dr. Dardeau has also served as Emergency Medical Coordinator for Dauphin Island Fire and Rescue for two years and as a volunteer medic for another ten years. He also worked part-time as a flight paramedic for Southflite, USA and for another ten years as an industrial paramedic.
"The part-time positions helped to maintain certification as a Diving Medical Technician Paramedic between 1984 and 2014," Dardeau explained.