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This is an annotated list of the published papers and reports that have included REEF data. The list is in chronological order.  Papers that are available for viewing in .pdf format are noted.

Also see the Projects page for links to additional reports.

Christine A. Ward-Paige, Ransom A. Myers, Christy Pattengill-Semmens.  In Prep. Yellow Stingray in the Florida Keys.
This study analyzed temporal trends of the yellow stingray in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) as recorded by trained volunteer divers using the Roving Diver Technique. Data were obtained from the REEF Fish Survey Project. A generalized linear model on presence-absence data was used to estimate the change in yellow stingray by year. Habitat type, bottom time, depth, site, water temperature, and Julian date were included in the model to standardize the data.  The decline in sighting frequency has occurred in all habitat types, depths, sites, and regions of the FKNMS. Within the FKNMS yellow stingray sightings declined from 32% SF (425 sightings in 1323 surveys) in 1994 to 8.5% SF (93 sightings in 1095 surveys) in 2005, averaging ~18% decline per year. The decline has gone virtually unnoticed. This study highlights the importance of protecting marine communities for the preservation of fishery resources and shows the importance of recording all marine species extractions. It also demonstrates the value and application of trained volunteer divers for monitoring temporal trends and species interactions of marine communities.  This work was presented at the Summer 2006 American Elasmobranch Society meeting.

Neely, K.L. In Prep. Using a meta-analysis of monitoringdata to determine the effects of bleaching on reef inhabitants. 
Though declines in coral health have been documented worldwide, the effects of this decline on reef inhabitants are poorly studied. Studies monitoring fish abundances through coral declines are often inconclusive or contradictory in their results. This study uses fish assemblage data from REEF's database, as well as bleaching data compiled by ReefBase and reef health data collected by Reef Check, to correlate reef inhabitant abundance with bleaching events. Data are analyzed with respect to species, reef location, bleaching severity, and recovery time. Preliminary results show that the majority of species do not change in abundance following a bleaching event. Of those that do change, both increases and decreases are seen, and the direction of change, even within a single species, is often dependent on the time since the event. This suggests that a local decline in coral health may not have an immediate negative impact on the community and that a window of opportunity to preserve community structure following coral mortality may exist. This work was presented at the Summer 2006 ASLO meeting.

Taylor, M.S. and L. Akins. In Press. Two new species of Elactinus (Telostei:Gobiidae) from the Mexican Coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Zootaxa.
This paper describes two new species of goby that were discovered by REEF surveyors during a special training project in the Veracruz Marine Park in Mexico in 2003.  Individuals of the two mystery gobies were photographed by REEF's Lad Akins.  In cooperation with the marine park, specimens were collected and subsequently described as new species by Dr. Mike Taylor from Notre Dame University.  The new finds include a neon-type goby that hovers in shoals above coral heads (Jahorcho Goby, Elactinus jarocho) and a tiger-striped goby that rests on rocks and coral (Cinta Goby, Elactinus redimiculus).  Both species are currently only known from reefs in southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Whaylen, L., P.G. Bush, B.C. Johnson, K.E. Luke, C.M.R. McCoy, S. Heppell, B. X. Semmens, and M. Boardman.  2006 Aggregation dynamics and lessons learned from five years of monitoring at a Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) spawning aggregation in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, BWI.  57th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting Proceedings (PDF)
This paper summarized the first five years of monitoring of the Little Cayman West End aggregation, including a summary of spawning activity, total numbers of fish present at the aggregation each year, coloration, and behavior.

Semmens, B.X., K.E. Luke, P.G. Bush, C.M.R. McCoy, and B.C. Johnson. 2006. Isopod infestation of post-spawning Nassau grouper around Little Cayman Island.  Journal of Fish Biology 69: 933-937
This paper documents attacks by the isopod Excorallana tricornis tricornis on Nassau grouper caught in Antillian fish traps during the post-spawning season of Spring 2005.  These findings were documented during Grouper Moon research by REEF and Cayman Islands Department of the Environment staff.  Fish were being trapped in order to acoustically tag individuals from sites around Little Cayman Island in order to better understand what percentage of reproductive-size individuals attend the aggregation each year. The paper discusses the apparent energetic costs associated with spawning.  A PDF of this paper is posted here.  This work was also presented as a poster at the 56th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting in 2005, and a summary of the poster is posted online (POSTER).

Auster, P.J., B.X. Semmens and K. Barber. 2005. Pattern in the co-occurrence of fishes inhabiting the coral reefs of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 74 (2): 187-194.
     This study used REEF data from Bonaire, an area where several thousand REEF surveys have been conducted, to evaluate patterns in species occurrence.  Their results suggest that species interactions, and/or species-habitat relationships may be important behavioral attributes mediating the local structure of fish assemblages on these coral reefs. This work was also presented at the International Coral Reef Symposium in 2004. The paper is posted as a PDF here.

Kingsley, M.C.S., ed. 2004. The Goliath Grouper in southern Florida: assessment review and advisory report.  Report prepared for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Southeast Data and Assessment Review. vii + 17 pp.
     REEF data was one of three datasets used in the most recent stock assessment of the Goliath grouper, a species that is currently protected from harvest due to very low numbers in the 1980s.  Because this species is not fished, fisheries managers must use fisheries-independent datasets and the REEF database represents a valuable source of this information.  The full report is posted here.

Semmens, B.X., E.R. Buhle, A.K. Salomon, and C.V. Pattengill-Semmens. 2004. Tankers or fish tanks: what brought non-native marine fishes to Florida waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 266:239-244.
Sightings data submitted to REEF's Exotic Species Sighting Program through 2002 are summarized in this paper. The data show a hot-spot of non-native marine fishes along south Florida (Broward and Palm Beach Counties).  The authors evaluated potential vectors of introduction and pinpointed the aquarium trade as the likely source.  Click here to download a PDF of this article.

Whaylen, L., Pattengill-Semmens, C.V., Semmens, B.X., Bush, P.G. and M.R. Boardman. 2004. Observations of a Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) Spawning Aggregation Site In Little Cayman, Including Multi-Species Spawning Information. Environmental Biology of Fishes.  70: 305-313.
This paper summarizes the finding from the 2002 REEF Grouper Moon Project, which documented the characteristics of a newly discovered Nassau grouper spawning aggregation.  At its peak, over 5,000 Nassau grouper were present at the site.  Significant contributions include the visual and video documentation of four nights of spawning of Nassau grouper, the description of crepuscular and lunar movements and color phase shifts in the grouper, and the documentation of courtship/spawning behavior in ten additional species.  Click here to read the abstract or here to download a PDF of this article.  This paper was also presented at the 2002 Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting.

Pattengill-Semmens, C.V.  and B.X. Semmens. 2003. Conservation and management applications of the REEF volunteer fish monitoring program. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Journal. 81: 43-50
This paper reviews the role of partnerships in the success of REEF's program.  Several examples of how REEF has used partnerships are presented.  These include monitoring program parternships, data sharing and the use of data by others, the conservation contributions of the REEF program, and the educational component of partnerships.
This paper is available as a PDF file, click here to view.

Pattengill-Semmens, C.V. & B.X. Semmens. 2003. The status of reef fishes in the Cayman Islands (B.W.I.). pp. 226 -- 247. In: J.C. Lang (ed.) Status of Coral Reefs in the Western Atlantic: Results of Initial Surveys, Atlantic Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) Program. Atoll Research Bulletin, Vol. 496.

     This paper is the result of a 1999 AGRRA expedition to the Cayman Islands coordinated by the Marine Education and Environmental Research Institute (MEERI). The paper uses the REEF database (over 1,200 surveys from the Cayman Islands) and the AGRRA fish data to provide an updated species list for the Islands, a comparison between islands (Grand Cayman and Little Cayman) and sites (33 sites), and an analysis of the relationships between herbivorous fishes and algal cover. Thanks to the REEF database, 44 species were added to the list of fishes known to occur on the Islands. A site's location (windward or leeward) appeared to be an important factor in community composition. Additionally, many species had significantly higher abundances on Little Cayman, including groupers which is probably an indication of the difference in anthropogenic impacts between the two islands.  This paper is available as a PDF file, click here to view.

REEF. 2003.  Volunteer Fish Monitoring in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  2002 Final Report.
This report summarizes the 2002 data from REEF's annual assessment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  A total of 37 sites from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas are monitored each year with REEF's Advanced Assessment Team, to evaluate status, trends and the effect of no-take reserves.  A PDF of this report is posted here.

REEF 2002.  Volunteer Fish Monitoring in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: 1994-2001.
     This report summarizes the first 8 years of data from 27 sites in the Sanctuary, approximately half of which were designated as no-take reserves in 1996.  A PDF of the report is posted here.

Schmitt, E. F., T. D. Sluka, and K. M. Sullivan-Sealy. 2002. Evaluating the use of roving diver and transect surveys to assess the coral reef assemblages off southeastern Hispaniola. Coral Reefs. 21: 216-223.
    The utility and biases of the Roving Diver Technique (RDT) and transect visual surveys are evaluated for use in rapid assessments off southeastern Hispaniola. Both methods are similar in recording the most abundant species, while a greater number of rare species (especially fishery-targeted species) are recorded with the RDT. The methods are found to be complementary, and are suggested to be used together when conducting rapid assessments of fish assemblages, especially to detect over-fishing. Click here to read full abstract or here to download a PDF of this article.

Pattengill-Semmens, C.V. 2001. Learning to see underwater. Underwater Naturalist. 25(4): 37-40.
     This paper describes the Fish Survey Project, and provides an overview of its applications in science and management and its value in enhancing the experience of divers and snorkelers.  Click here to view the article as a .PDF document.

Jeffrey, C.F.G., C. Pattengill-Semmens, S. Gittings, and M.E. Monaco. 2001. Distribution and sighting frequency of reef fishes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series MSD-01-1. US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD. 51 pp.
This study analyzed species richness, distribution, and sighting frequency of selected reef fishes to describe species assemblage composition, abundance, and spatial distribution patterns within and among regions in the Florida Keys NMS.  This report is the result of work being done on the biogeography of reef fishes by NOAA's Biogeography Office.  Click here to view a PDF version.

B.X. Semmens, J.L. Ruesink, and C.V. Pattengill-Semmens. 2000. Multi-site multi-species trends: a new tool for coral reef managers.  Proc. 9th International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000. 1071-1078.
     This is the first large scale trend analysis done using REEF data.  The paper looked at 21 sites throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  Analysis methods were modified from those applied to the Breeding Bird Survey in order to detect sites with multi-species declines.  A sub-set of sites were identified and potential management options were discussed.  Click here to read the abstract.

Jeffrey, C.F.G, C. Pattengill-Semmens, K. Buja, J.D. Christensen, M. Coyne, M. E. Monaco, and S. Gittings. in press. Benthic habitat associations of reef fishes in the Florida Keys: Coupling of benthic habitats and fish distributions via GIS technology. Proc. International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000.
This study analyzed spatial trends and correlations between habitat diversity and fish community, using REEF data from the Florida Keys that were overlaid onto benthic habitat maps using GIS. Click here to read the abstract.

Pattengill-Semmens, C.V., S.R. Gittings, and T. Shyka. 2000. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary- A Rapid Assessment of Coral, Fish and Algae using the AGRRA Protocol. NOAA Conservation Series Technical Report.
     The results of an AGRRA expedition to the Flower Garden Banks are summarized in this technical report. A total of 117 fish species were recorded during the expedition, and REEF surveys documented a new record for the banks, a sharptail eel.  This document is available for download as a PDF file here.

Pattengill, C.V. 1999. Occurrence of a unique color morph in the smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter) at the Flower Garden Banks and Stetson Bank, northwest Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 65(2): 587-591.
     As a result of REEF surveys, a new color phase of the smooth trunkfish was documented at the Flower Garden Banks. The occurrence of this golden morph is reported in this paper. For more information and to view a picture, visit http://www.flowergarden.nos.noaa.gov/trunk.html.

Pattengill-Semmens, C. V. and B. X. Semmens. 1999. Assessment and monitoring applications of a community-based monitoring program: The Reef Environmental Education Foundation. International Conference on Scientific Aspects of Coral Reef Assessment, Monitoring, and Restoration. April 14-16, 1999. National Coral Reef Institute. Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
    A poster presentation on the REEF/TNC Fish Survey Project with examples of three applications of data generated by the Project. These include evaluating the effect of marine protected areas, mapping species distribution, and applications in general assessment.  A .PDF file of this poster is available for download.

Schmitt, E. F., K. M. Sullivan-Sealy, and D.W. Feeley. 1999. Applications of the REEF Fish Survey Project for Monitoring Fishes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. International Conference on Scientific Aspects of Coral Reef Assessment, Monitoring, and Restoration. April 14-16, 1999. National Coral Reef Institute. Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
    Data collected by expert observers were used to evaluate the effect of Sanctuary Preservation Areas in the Florida Keys NMS on fishery-targeted species. Frequency of occurrence of species such as snappers, groupers, and hogfish were greater in sites that had protection from harvesting.

Pattengill, C. V. 1998. The structure and persistence of reef fish assemblages of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Doctoral Dissertation, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. 176pp.
    Chapters 2, 4, and 5 of this dissertation present data collected using the RDT. Chapter 2 presents the complete fish assemblage reported by RDT and Stationary Diver Technique (SDT; referred to in Bohnsack, 1996, as the SST) surveys over three years of semi-annual surveys of the Flower Gardens and Stetson Bank, in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Chapter 4 examines the quality of fish census data generated by REEF nonexperts, and was published in the Journal of Gulf of Mexico Science (Pattengill-Semmens and Semmens, 1998). Chapter 5 provides discussion on the applications and reasons for choosing the RDT and the SDT for this project. A comparison between the abundance estimates of the two methods and the biases inherent in each is also given.

Pattengill- Semmens, C.V. 2002. The reef fish assemblage of Bonaire Marine Park: an analysis of REEF Fish Survey Project data. Proceedings 53rd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 53: 591-605.
     A total of 362 species have been reported from 77 sites around Bonaire and the neighboring Klein Bonaire. This makes the Bonaire Marine Park one of the most species rich areas in REEF's database. The paper also showed that the composition of species (presence and abundance) on Klein Bonaire and Bonaire are distinct. In addition to providing data for site characterization, the thousands of surveys in REEF's database will provide a baseline against which future change can be assessed. This paper provides the most comprehensive species list published to date for the Park.  A PDF file of this paper is available for download.

Pattengill-Semmens, C. V. and B. X. Semmens. 1998. An analysis of fish survey data generated by nonexperts in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Journal of the Gulf of Mexico Science. 2: 196-207.
    The quality of fish census data generated by REEF volunteers of various experience levels is examined and compared with data generated by experts. The similarity in species reported, the similarity in abundance category recorded, and the statistical power to detect change are used in the comparison. Species composition and structure is comparable between the skill levels. When sighted, most species are reported with similar abundance categories. The ability to detect change in many species is better for the nonexpert data, a result of higher survey effort for the nonexperts. Species that are cryptic or rare have low power (change had to be large before it could be detected) regardless of the skill level, but are generally better using expert data.  A PDF file of this paper is available for download.

Schmitt, E. F., D. F. Wells, and K. M. Sullivan-Sealey. 1998. Surveying coral reef fishes: a manual for data collection, processing, and interpretation of fish survey information for the tropical northwest Atlantic. Coral Gables, FL: The Nature Conservancy, Marine Conservation Center. 84pp.
    This manual describes all aspects of REEF data collection and processing. It also provides examples of interpretation of the Fish Survey Project data, and how REEF data are used for The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Profiles.

Bohnsack, J. A. (ed.). 1996. Two visually based methods for monitoring coral reef fishes. In A Coral Reef Symposium on Practical, Reliable, Low Cost Monitoring Methods for Assessing the Biota and Habitat Conditions of Coral Reefs, Jan. 26-27, 1995. M.P. Crosby, G.R. Gibson, and K.W. Potts (eds.). Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD.
    This short paper, prepared after the second year of the Fish Survey Project, overviews the RDT and the more quantitative Stationary Sampling Technique. The advantages to the REEF RDT are discussed, including the information provided on fisheries-independent species and its simplicity. The author concludes that both methods can be used to answer a wide variety of monitoring and scientific questions, although each has advantages and disadvantages.  Summary posted online at http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/coral/symposium/bohnsack.html.

Schmitt, E., compiler. 1996. Status of Reef Fishes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: Regional Project Summary. The Nature Conservancy, Florida and Caribbean Marine Conservation Science Center, University of Miami. Miami, FL. 37pp.
    This report is a summary of the first 3 years of the Fish Survey Project in the Florida Keys, with comparisons among FKNMS sites and with other distant regions. It demonstrates some ways in which data from the Project can be used.

Schmitt, E. F., and K. M. Sullivan. 1996. Analysis of a volunteer method for collecting fish presence and abundance data in the Florida Keys. Bulletin of Marine Science. 59(2): 404-416.
    Roving diver data gathered by expert volunteers in the Florida Keys are presented and discussed. These data are found to be comparable to other Florida Keys published studies. Differences in the fish assemblages between the three regions of the Keys, the upper, lower, and the Dry Tortugas, are reported and evaluated.  This paper was the first published account of the Roving Diver Technique (RDT).

Schmitt, E. F., B. X. Semmens, and K. M. Sullivan. 1993. Research applications of volunteer generated coral reef fish surveys. The Nature Conservancy, Florida and Caribbean Marine Conservation Science Center, University of Miami. Miami, Fl. 15pp.
    This report is the first publication of the RDT, and was initially given at the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute meeting in Spring 1994.


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Date Last Modified: 01/29/07

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