Frequently Asked Questions

What is REEF?
What is REEF's Fish Survey Project?
How do I get involved in volunteer fish surveying?
What do I need to become a REEF surveyor?
Where can I get survey materials?
Where can I conduct REEF surveys?
How can I learn to ID fish?
Where can I go to take a fish ID seminar?
What should I do if I need a member number or lost mine?
How can I change my mailing address and mailing preferences?
What happens to the data I collect?
How can I access REEF fish data?
How can I access fish data that I collected?
Where do I find a list of REEF's Geographic Zone Codes?
Who uses the data collected by REEF members?
Are other animals included besides fish?
Why are healthy and diseased green sea turtle sightings included in REEF surveys from Hawaii?
What are the different levels of surveyor experience?
What is the Advanced Assessment Team (AAT)?
Does REEF offer internships?
What is the Great Annual Fish Count?
Where can I find media and press resources?

 

What is REEF?
Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a grass-roots, non-profit organization. REEF enlists the help of recreational divers and snorkelers who regularly conduct fish biodiversity and abundance surveys during their dives. These surveys are conducted as part of REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project, and become part of a database that is publicly-accessible via this website. More about REEF.

What is REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project?
The REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project is a monitoring program that enables volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish (and in some regions, invertebrates and algae) populations. The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, the Roving Diver Technique (RDT) and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's website. Data collected by REEF volunteers are used for public education and by a variety of resource agencies and researchers. More about the Fish Survey Project.

How do I get involved in volunteer fish surveying?
Contact REEF and become a REEF member- it's free! As part of REEF, you are encouraged to conduct surveys as part of your regular dives. You can also join in on Field Surveys Trips and other special projects.

What do I need to become a REEF surveyor?
TTo conduct REEF surveys, simply keep track of the fish you see on your dives, and write them down. REEF has created survey materials to make your survey experience easier, including slates, waterproof survey paper and laminated color ID cards. Participating in a REEF Field Survey Trip is a great introduction to the Volunteer Survey Project. REEF Field Stations also offer introductory courses in fish ID. These two-hour seminars are not required to participate in the Project, but are a great way to get started. More about the survey method. More about REEF Field Survey Trips.

Where can I get survey materials?
Survey materials, including books, DVDs and curricula, can be ordered online at the REEF Store or by contacting REEF HQ. Materials can also be purchased from our Field Stations.

Where can I conduct REEF surveys?
REEF surveys are conducted as part of a diver's regular diving activities; anytime they are in the water. REEF surveys can be conducted in any of REEF's Project areas:

• Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA; Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico)

• South Atlantic States (SAS; Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)

• Northeast US & Canada (NE; Virginia through Newfoundland)

• Eastern Atlantic & Mediterranean (EAM; Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, and Mediterranean)

• West Coast of the United States and Canada (PAC; California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP; Gulf of California to the Galapagos Islands).

• Hawaiian Islands (HAW)

• South Pacific (SOP; Fiji, Samoan Archipelago, Line Islands, Cook Islands)

• Central Indo-Pacific (CIP; Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Australia, Philippines)

Each project area has different dataentry, training, and survey materials.


How can I learn to ID fish?
Grab your computer or tablet and join us online for our Fishinar series – online webinars that teach fish ID. They are free for REEF members, and members may also request to view any of our past archived Fishinars as well. In addition, other classes may be found by looking at our online events calendar. More about Fishinars

Where can I go to take a fish ID seminar?

Introduction to Fish Identification seminars are conducted in conjunction with the annual REEF event, the Great American Fish Count. These free seminars are held each May and June. For a complete list of GAFC activities, visit the Website www.fishcount.org. REEF Field Stations and many partners also teach REEF seminars.

What should I do if I need a member number or lost mine?
When you join REEF, you will receive a member ID number. This number will link your survey data to you. If you already have a member number but can't remember it, contact REEF HQ by email REEFHQ@REEF.org or by phone at 305-852-0030.

How can I change my mailing address and mailing preferences?
Become a registered user of the REEF.org website and then update your contact information. Or, send us an email at REEFHQ@REEF.org .

What happens to the data I collect?
The information goes through a series of computer and human error-checks. For data submitted online, this can take several weeks. (If submitted by paper scantron form, the processing time is much longer, several months. After the quality control checks, the survey data are loaded into REEF's online database. From this database, a variety of reports can be generated on species distribution and population trends, for a specific reef or large geographic regions.

How can I access REEF fish data?
Data collected by REEF volunteers is returned to REEF and entered into our database. This database is accessible online, via this website, and a variety of reports can be generated. A summary report can be generated for a given location or region, with data on all species that have been documented there. Distribution reports can be generated for a specific species or family. And you can view your own lifelist of fish sightings using your REEF member ID number. To visit the REEF database, click here.

How can I access fish data that I collected?
REEF members who conduct surveys can view a summary of their data, including their life list of species seen by logging into REEF.org and then clicking on the My Data link. More about becoming a registered REEF.org user.

Where can I find a listing of REEF's Geographic Zone Codes?
Each site that a REEF survey is conducted is assigned a unique eight digit code. The codes are part of REEF's hierarchical set of zone codes. You can find the listing of zone codes here.

Who uses the data collected by REEF members?
The REEF dataset is publicly-accessible on this Website. A variety of groups use the data, including REEF members, the general public, and several conservation groups and management agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Park Service, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC). As the REEF Fish Survey Project has grown, several scientific papers and products have been produced using the roving diver survey method and the REEF database. In addition, the REEF Fish Survey Project has become integrated into several projects. To read more about these projects and to see a list of scientific papers that have produced, visit the Monitoring and Research page and the Publications page.

Are other animals included besides fish?
While the main focus of REEF's program is marine fish, we have incorporated two additional components through collaborations with other organizations - the Invertebrate and Algae Monitoring Program in REEF's temperate regions and the Sea Turtle Sighting Program.

Why are healthy and diseased green sea turtle sightings included in REEF surveys from Hawaii?
Due to the growing incidence of Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors in Hawaiian green sea turtle populations, REEF included the sighting of healthy turtles and turtles inflicted with FP in our Hawaii survey methodology. For more information, click here.

What are the different levels of surveyor experience?
REEF fish survey data are separated into two categories based on experience level- Novice and Expert. These experience levels are determined by number of surveys completed and examination scores. Click here to read more about these experience levels.

What is the Advanced Assessment Team (AAT)?
REEF members who achieve Expert status make up our Advanced Assessment Team (AAT). The AAT are invited to participate in special projects such as monitoring work with the National Marine Sanctuary Program and other research projects. To read more about these special projects, visit the AAT page.

Does REEF offer internships?
REEF offers several four-month-long internship opportunities each year. Visit the REEF Marine Conservation Internship Program webpage for more information and applications.

What is the Great Annual Fish Count?
The Great Annual Fish Count (GAFC) is an annual REEF event to celebrate volunteer fish monitoring and provides an introduction to REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project for divers and snorkelers. Leading up to the event, which takes place each July, local partners organize free fish ID seminars. For more information on the GAFC and to see a list of seminars and other activities, visit the Website at www.fishcount.org. This event was formally known as the Great American Fish Count. For more information on the GAFC and to see a list of seminars and other activities, visit the Website at www.fishcount.org. This event was formally known as the Great American Fish Count.

Where can I find media and press resources?
Check out REEF's Reports and News Archives page.

 

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