John J. B. Rooney was a founding Director for the Association for Marine Exploration, and served in his capacity on the Board of Directors as Chief Operations Officer for many years. He led an extraordinarily diverse life, as a pioneering technical diver since the early 1990's, a legendary skydiving instructor, a widely-respected oceanographic researcher, an avid surfer, cherished friend and, most of all, a devoted husband and father. His contributions to this organization will never be forgotten, and his legacy will always endure.
John received a Ph.D. in Geology and an M.S. in Oceanography, both from the University of Hawaii, where he was the 2000 School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology ARCS Scholar. He worked for the Ecospatial Information team with NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Program, and the Benthic Habitat Mapping Center at the University of Hawai'i. He participated in about fifty expeditions throughout the Pacific, and conducted research and published results on a wide range of coastal science topics (including coral reef development, coastal erosion, impacts of land use and climatic fluctuations on coastal systems, and fisheries management). His primary interests included coastal erosion and beach renourishment, late Quaternary sea-level fluctuations, management of benthic ecosystems, and the history and development of coral reefs. Prior to starting graduate school, Dr. Rooney served as a line officer in the US Navy and worked for several years as a scuba diving instructor. He has directed underwater research in Hawaii, California, and the Red Sea to depths of 500 feet, and served on the University of Hawaii Diving Control Board.