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Dr Bill Bushing aka drbill

Discussion in 'Avenue of the Divers: Scuba Legends & Pioneers' started by The Chairman, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    54,323
    21,187
    113
    Dr. Bill Bushing, or @drbill as he is known on ScubaBoard, first used SCUBA in 1962. The only instruction he was given before the dive was “don't hold your breath.” During the 1960s, his diving primarily involved cleaning the deep diving wells of public swimming pools, often using hookah and a Mark IV diving helmet. Visibility was generally outstanding and there were no sharks in those waters.

    Bill has been a resident marine biologist on Santa Catalina Island off Los Angeles for almost 50 years. Upon graduation from Harvard College in 1969, he became head of the science and math departments at the Catalina Island School. Prior to moving to California, he learned one had to have a SCUBA certification to get tanks filled, so he took the Los Angeles County open water course with Ron Merker. While there, Bill taught marine biology on SCUBA to high school students and developed a four-year science curriculum based on the use of Catalina's terrestrial and marine habitats as a natural laboratory. Dr. Sylvia Earle was a member of the school's board of trustees. Bill taught at the school until it closed in 1979.

    He has logged thousands of dives mostly in southern California waters for research and educational purposes. He is a well-known presence both at Catalina's Casino Point Dive Park; and, formerly, on SCUBA Luv's King Neptune dive boat where he served as the marine life specialist for thousands of divers each year. Dr. Bill has worked, dived and filmed with the likes of Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Richard C. Murphy, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Milton Love, Dr. Guy Harvey, marine artist Wyland and others.

    Beginning in the mid-70's, Bill served as a consultant, staff member and guest lecturer for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Project Ocean Search Catalina. Bill stopped diving in 1975 after seeing the movie “Jaws”and meeting a surfer with scars crossing his entire torso from an attack at Point Conception. Three years later Jean-Michel saw him suiting up and asked him what got him back in the water. Bill answered, “I saw Jaws II.”

    He later worked with Jean-Michel and his father, Jacques Yves Cousteau, as a consultant and facilitator during the filming of a two-hour Channel Islands episode in the "Cousteau's Rediscovery of the World" series for Turner Broadcasting. It was during this project that Dr. Bill was introduced to the use of video to document natural history when Jean-Michel handed him a camcorder and asked him to film the release of two bald eagles. This later transitioned to filming underwater.

    Later, Bill was instrumental in helping Jean-Michel to establish a Catalina location for Cousteau Family Camp and other educational programs. Over the decades Bill has worked on a number of educational projects for Jean-Michel's Ocean Futures organization, most recently on the filming of Jean-Michel Cousteau's Secret Ocean 3D.

    Bill's Ph.D. in marine ecology from the University of California Santa Barbara focused on ground breaking research in the use of satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to study the long-term distribution and persistence of giant kelp forests (Macrocystis pyrifera) around Santa Catalina Island. His 719 page dissertation is considered an excellent door stop or cure for insomnia. This research developed a methodology for creating a network of marine reserves based on ecological factors including disturbance regimes, and one of his scientific papers was recommended to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA, by a group of scientists as an example of how to design marine reserves. His other research interests include the dispersal of non-motile marine invertebrates on drifting kelp, and ecological factors associated with the designation of marine protected areas and reserves. Bill also taught satellite remote sensing for several years at UCSB.

    In the 1990's Dr. Bushing served as a consultant and later as Vice President for Science, Education and Ecological Restoration (SEER) for the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy, owners of 88% of the island. During this period he instituted a number of important conservation programs. He was also a supporter of the Catalina Conservancy Divers, an early citizen scientist group. Bill also worked on implementing California's Marine Life Protection Act to establish marine reserves in southern California.

    In June of 2000 Dr. Bushing left the Conservancy to focus on the ecology of Catalina's kelp forests. He continues to conduct scientific research and to create educational programs to better inform the general public about our underwater world and the need to preserve it for future generations. For several years he served as a marine biologist and underwater videographer on Lindblad Expeditions eco-cruises in the Sea of Cortez, Belize and Honduras. He has also dived on five continents and tropical waters in Italy, Greece, Thailand, Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, the Bahamas, Bonaire, Aruba, the Philippines, the Egyptian Red Sea and Palau.

    Dr. Bill has published more than 750 newspaper columns and peer-reviewed scientific papers including his weekly column "Dive Dry with Dr. Bill" about marine life, ecology and diving. He also produced two regional cable television programs, one with the same name and another, “Munching and Mating in the Macrocystis,” about the ecology of kelp forests. His readers and viewers thus have the opportunity to "dive dry" by sitting in their easy chairs with their favorite adult beverage without the need for a wetsuit or cold water. He has provided footage for PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS, The Weather Channel, NHK (Japan’s public TV network), and other broadcast outlets. Dr. Bill has also produced 30 educational videos about the marine life in southern California as well as dive travelogues to various destinations. He often gives talks for various dive clubs and other marine or conservation oriented groups.

    Bill has served on the Advisory Board of Oceanic Defense and was named to California Ships-to-Reefs Science Committee. He is the recipient of the 2011 California SCUBA Service Award. This fall he will be named “Hero of the Reef” by Reef Check.

    Bill views himself as a marine ecologist and educator first and sees SCUBA diving as the most important tool for observing and interpreting marine life. He is actually shocked that people seem to consider him as a legend or icon, when all he is doing is what he loves... being a dive bum!

    Further information about his activities can be found at the website Star Thrower Educational Multimedia (S.T.E.M.) Home Page.
     
    couv, KathyV, NYCNaiad and 13 others like this.
  2. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    2,325
    2,495
    113
    If I know Dr. Bill he'd rather have a date with Lucy Lui than a fuss made over him.

    2F69A38C00000578-3361932-image-a-98_1450246031179.jpg

    But, congrats, Dr. Bill! :D
     
    JamesBon92007 likes this.
  3. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,305
    5,060
    113
    You've got that right, Trace!
     
    Trace Malinowski likes this.
  4. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    54,323
    21,187
    113
    So Bill, what was your absolute favorite dive?
     
  5. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,305
    5,060
    113
    Now that is a really tough question to answer as there have been so many great ones. Almost every dive in Palau would be in contention. The great white shark dives at Guadalupe when I was involved in a GWS research project (tagging sharks with dart tags) and filmed them with Dr. Guy Harvey for his TV show. Diving with Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Richard Murphy and Holly Lohuis to film a massive squid run for his latest 3D film. Dives with our gentle giants (giant sea bass, Stereolepis gigas) during the filming of the NHK documentary about them. Filming a flamboyant cuttlefish feeding in the Philippines. My solo night dives in the kelp forests. Diving with my son. Hard to choose.
     
  6. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,305
    5,060
    113
    Of course for me a great dive is mostly about the critters I see on it
     
    Dizzi Lizzi and maj2 like this.
  7. Dizzi Lizzi

    Dizzi Lizzi Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: California
    914
    783
    93
    Love your Dry dives, Best to you Dr Bill.
     
    Schwob likes this.

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