REEF Fest 2015 Seminars


Topics, location, registration:

Fish ID, The Lives of Blennies, Fish Behavior, Grouper Moon, Invasive Lionfish, and more. There's something to learn for everyone! All seminars will take place at Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo, Florida. All seminars are free, but pre-registration is requested. Specific dates and times for each seminar will be listed soon.

Click here to register. 

Introduction to Florida Keys Fish ID
Presented by: Jonathan Lavan, REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project Program Assistant 

The voices behind many of our Caribbean Fishinars, Jonathan will introduce you to the most common fish found in the Florida and Caribbean reefs and lead an exciting game of FISH-O! There are several REEF survey dives organized during the weekend to test out your new ID skills.

Zombies, Hermaphrodites, Mimics & More: Advanced FL Keys Fish ID & Behavior
Presented by: Carlos and Allison Estape, REEF Experts

Carlos and Allison will "dive" deeper into more advanced Florida Keys fish ID and behavior. THey will share some really wild examples of fish evolution & behavior that will leave you amazed. There are several REEF survey dives organized during the weekend to test out your new ID skills.

The Lives of Blennies
Presented by: Anna DeLoach, REEF Board Member

Anna DeLoach, famed underwater naturalist, videographer, and the creator of, will introduce you to one of her favorite group of fish, the blenny! Despite their small size, blennies play an important role in underwater ecosystems and the diversity of this family is amazing. Anna has spent hundreds of hours documenting the lives of these fascinating fishes. This is sure to be an entertaining session! 

Invasive Lionfish:  Research & Results 
Presented by: Lad Akins, REEF Director of Special Projects

Lad will provide an overview of the latest science and research findings of the devastating invasion of the Indo-Pacific Lionfish into western Atlantic waters, as well as provide basic collection and handling training. Topics will include background of the invasion, biology and ecology of lionfish, impacts of invasive lionfish on native Caribbean reefs, current research findings, and collecting tools and techniques. Note: this is not a FKNMS permit workshop. 

Grouper Moon:  Protecting a Caribbean Icon
Presented by: Christy Pattengill-Semmens Ph.D., REEF Director of Science and Brice Semmens Ph.D., Grouper Moon Lead Scientist and Professor Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Grouper Moon Project is one of REEF's premier marine conservation projects, helping to unravel the mystery of mass spawning aggregations in the endangered Nassau Grouper. Each winter, REEF scientists and our collaborators at the Cayman Islands Department of Environment study the largest aggregation remaining, which hosts over 4,000 fish. Christy will review some of the highlights of what we have learned about this natural phenomenon and what we are doing to help save this iconic species, as well as share some of the footage and images captured at the Little Cayman aggregation site.

The Secrets of Fish Behavior
Presented by: Ned DeLoach, REEF Co-Founder and Board Member

Authors of the popular book Reef Fish BehaviorNed and his wife Anna have long been fascinated by how and why fish mate, defend, eat, and survive. Ned will share some of his best stories and photos on the subject, followed by a Q&A session. 

Nearshore Habitats in the Florida Keys
Presented by: Stephanie Green Ph.D., David H. Smith Conservation Fellow, REEF Affliate Scientist

Often called 'nurseries of the sea,' many juvenile reef fishes make their home in coastal mangroves and seagrass beds before migrating out to the reef. Stephanie will explore the biology and ecology of species in these nearshore habitats, their importance for the health of the coral reefs at large, and conservation actions underway to protect these vital areas in the Florida Keys.

Restoring Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys
Presented by: Ken Nedimyer, Founder and President of the Coral Restoration Foundation

Ken Nedimyer, founder and president of the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF), will talk about the work CRF is doing in Florida and elsewhere, why they are doing it, and what the future may hold. CRF has built the largest offshore coral nursery in the Western hemisphere, and it's right off Key Largo.  Ken will share pictures and video of recent work in the nursery.  Anyone interested in diving at the nursery and planting coral with the CRF team on Saturday should plan to attend this seminar.

Exploring the Impacts of REEF
Presented by: Ellie Splain
, REEF Education Program Manager

REEF has made significant contributions to science and research over the past two decades. But perhaps REEF’s broadest contributions can be attributed to the Education and Outreach efforts of the organization. REEF has made “awareness” of all marine conservation threats a primary mission. Ellie will share the greatest successes of REEF’s education efforts and introduce what will come next!



Making a Splash in Citizen Science: 22 Years of the Volunteer Fish Survey Project
Presented by: Christy Pattengill-Semmens Ph.D., REEF Director of Science

The REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project is REEF’s cornerstone citizen science program. Started in 1993, this project engages volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations as well as sea turtles and select invertebrate and algae species. It has grown to become one of the most effective and powerful ocean citizen science program, and has generated the world’s largest database on marine fishes. These data are being used to better understand and protect ocean ecosystems worldwide. REEF is regarded as a leader in the field of Citizen Science. Christy will share some of the stories of how the survey program got where it is today, and the impact the data are having worldwide.


Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub