Scientific Papers and Reports

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.

Pattengill-Semmens, C.V. & B.X. Semmens. 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.

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.

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. Gitting. 2000. Benthic habitat associations of reef fishes in the Florida Keys.

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. (FIXME)

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.

Pattengill, C.V.. 1999. Occurrence of a unique color morph in the smooth trunkfish at the Flower Garden Banks and Stetson Bank, northwest Gulf of Mexico.

Bulletin of Marine Science. 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

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.

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.

Castle, P.H.J. and J.E. Randall. 1999. Revision of Indo-Pacific garden eels (Congridae: Heterocongrinae), with descriptions of five new species..

Indo-Pacific Fishes. (30):52 p.

In 1997, REEF surveyors discovered a colony of garden eels during survey dives in the Gulf of Mexico that didn't' look quite right to be the usual brown garden eel. After sending images and ultimately a specimen to Dr. John Randall, the mystery species was identified as a new species of conger eel, the yellow garden eel (Heteroconger luteolus). The description of the new species was published in 1999.

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.

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