Have You Signed Up For a 2012 REEF Trip Yet?

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REEF Field Surveys are a great introduction to fish identification for novice fishwatchers, and are a fun way for experienced surveyors to build their life list while interacting with fellow fishwatchers. REEF staff, board members, and other REEF instructors lead these trips, and each features daily classroom seminars and a full diving schedule. Don't miss out, spaces are filling up for our 2012 trips. The schedule and more details are posted online at www.REEF.org/trips. We have an exciting lineup of destinations planned and we hope you will join us. 2012 destinations and dates:

  • Nevis, April 21-28, led by Christy Pattengill-Semmens
  • Belize, lionfish expedition aboard the SunDancer II, May 26-June 2, led by Lad Akins and Peter Hughes
  • San Blas Islands in Panama, June 9-16 and June 16-23, led by Paul Humann
  • Dominica, lionfish research trip, July 14-21, led by Lad Akins
  • San Salvador in the Bahamas, July 29 - August 4, led by Paul Humann
  • Sea of Cortez/Baja Mexico, aboard the Rocio del Mar, September 22-29, led by Christy and Brice Semmens
  • Hornby Island in British Columbia*, September 26-30, led by Janna Nichols
  • Bermuda, October 6-13, led by Ned and Anna DeLoach
  • British Virgin Islands, aboard the Cuan Law, November 11-17, led by Heather George
  • Cozumel, December 1-8, led by Tracey Griffin
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    To inquire about a trip and to reserve your spot, contact the REEF Travel Consultant at Caradonna, 1-877-295-7333 (REEF), or via e-mail REEF@caradonna.com. *Hornby Island trip is being booked directly with the resort; contact owner/operator Amanda at info@hornbyislanddiving.com, or 250-335-2807.

    Top of the Charts: Survey Stats, February 2012

    A big fish thanks to the 222 volunteers who conducted REEF surveys in the last three months (Dec '11-Feb '12). A total of 1,746 surveys were conducted and submitted during this time!

    REEF members who have conducted the most surveys in the last three months:

    TWA – Dee Scarr (78), Franklin Neal (45), Michael Phelan (43)

    NE – Joseph Mangiafico (13), Michael Murphy (5), Eric Heupel (5)

    PAC – Randall Tyle (38), Phil Green (32), Georgia Arrow (15)

    TEP – Pam Wade (20)

    HAW – Judith Tarpley (41), MJ Farr (35), Patricia Richardson (30)

    To date, 157,298 surveys have been conducted by REEF volunteers.

    Visit www.REEF.org/db/stats to see the Top 10 surveyors with the most surveys conducted to date, the most species-rich locations, and most frequently sighted fish species.

    Remembering Mike Phelan

    One of Mike's passions was studying and protecting the aggregation of Goliath Grouper near his home in Jupiter.

    We are saddened to share news about the passing of one of our most active REEF members, Mike Phelan, earlier this month in Jupiter, FL. Mike's enthusiasm for fishcounting was infectious and he often taught fish ID. He had participated in many REEF projects and was a member of our Advanced Assessment Team. REEF co-founder, Paul Humann, remembers Mike’s unsurpassed passion for marine life and conservation. "REEF's database is much more meaningful thanks to Mike's contribution of nearly 1,500 fish surveys over the last 14 years. Working with State of Florida officials he did a great deal of volunteer research on the Goliath Groupers and wrote several scientific reports. His information was used as part of the government decision-making process to continue the Goliath's protection as an endangered species. On one of his last dives he counted 114 Goliath Groupers in a single aggregation, the largest ever recorded. As a personal friend, I along with everyone that knew Mike will miss him greatly - as will the Goliath Groupers who have lost one of their staunchest advocates."

    REEF Director of Special Projects and original Executive Director, Lad Akins, regarded Mike as a top-notch team member and an all around great person. "Mike Phelan was a friend of REEF and a friend of mine. If I had to pick a team for anything, Mike would be one of the first I’d pick. He was a joy to be around – always quick in wit and a true professional in his approach to almost any situation. I first met Mike on a REEF fish survey trip in 1998. He quickly became a mainstay of REEF fish survey activities and achieved Golden Hamlet status with over 1,000 fish survey dives. His dedication to protecting marine resources, especially Goliath Grouper, was widely known and his efforts were far reaching in helping to better understand this keystone species. Mike was certainly a member of the REEF family and we’ll miss him much."

    Mike will be sorely missed in the REEF community. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife and their children. If you would like to read more about Mike's efforts with REEF, you can read the monthly member spotlight that featured him in June 2011. Mike's obituary and remembrance page is posted here.

    Take a Dive Vacation That Counts

    If you haven't yet booked your space on one of our 2013 REEF Field Surveys, don't delay. They are filling up fast and several are now sold out. Trips with space remaining are: Southern Bahamas Lionfish Trip with Lad Akins and Peter Hughes (May 18-25), Little Cayman with Paul Humann (July 13-20), Curacao Lionfish Trip with Lad Akins and Peter Hughes (Aug 31-Sept 7), Barkley Sound British Columbia with Janna Nichols (Sept 28-Oct 1), Grenada with Dr. Christy Semmens (Oct 5-12), and Socorro Islands with Marty Snyderman and Andy Dehart (Dec 3-12). Visit www.REEF.org/trips for information and details on all of these great trips. To book your space or ask questions, get in touch with our travel agent at Caradonna - 1-877-295-REEF (7333) or REEF@caradonna.com. 

    Upcoming Fishinars - Drums, Rare Cozumel Finds, and Scientific Illustration!

    Juvenile Cubuyu, one of several drum species found in the Caribbean that will be covered in the upcoming Fishinar on Drums. Photo by Carol Cox.

    Have you joined a Fishinar yet? These popular online REEF webinar training sessions provide fishie fun in the comfort of your own home. Fishinars are free, and open to all REEF members. You need to register for each session you want to attend. No special software is required, just a web browser. Upcoming sessions include:

    Lesser Known Fish of Cozumel - October 17

    Feel the Beat! The Top 12 Drums & Croakers of the Caribbean - October 29

    You do WHAT for a living? Illustrating Fishes - with special guest Val Kells, Scientific Illustrator - November 13

    New Fishinars are always being added. Check out the Webinar Training page (www.REEF.org/fishinars) for the most up-to-date listing and to register for each session.

    Putting It To Work: Who's Using REEF Data, March 2014

    Spiny Pink Sea Star in the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Janna Nichols.

    Every month, scientists, government agencies, and other groups request raw data from REEF’s Fish Survey Project database. Here is a sampling of who has asked for REEF data recently and what they are using it for:

    - Researchers from Western Washington University, Simon Frasier University, and the SeaDoc Society are all using REEF data to evaluate the status of echinoderms in the Pacific Northwest and how the rapid spread of seastar wasting disease will affect populations.

    - Scientists from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are including REEF data in an evaluation of the status of Northern Abalone in Washington State.

    - A researcher from RSMAS at University of Miami is using REEF data from throughout the Caribbean basin to evaluate populations of predators.

    Upcoming Fishinars - Sand Dwellers, Life on Oil Platforms, Sharkinar, and more!

    Don't miss the Sharkinar on October 22nd. Sand Tiger Shark photo by Jeffrey Haines.

    We've got lots of exciting, fun, and educational REEF Fishinars in store for you this fall - featuring your favorite instructors and special guests. Check out the full schedule at www.REEF.org/fishinars. REEF Fishinars are a free benefit of REEF membership, and did you know that REEF members can also access and view any of our archived Fishinars from previous years? Fishinars coming up include:

    • Playing in the Sandbox: Top 12 Sand Dwellers of the Caribbean - Jonathan Lavan, October 7th
    • Sharkinar! - Dr. Dean Grubbs, Florida State University, October 22nd
    • That Face, That Face, That Wonderful Face! Top 12 Blennies of the Caribbean - Jonathan Lavan, November 4th
    • What I Did on My Fall Vacation - Research on the Fishes of Southern California Oil and Gas Platforms - Dr. Milton Love, UC Santa Barbara, November 10th
    • Lionfish Myth Busters, Liz Underwood, December 3rd

    Explore our Fishinar webpage, register for the sessions you like, and we'll see you online! No special software or is required - just a computer with speakers and an internet connection. And did we mention they are FREE to REEF members!

    Fishinars in 2015 - Check Out the Full Schedule!

    You asked for it! A "Turtlinar" is scheduled forJune 18. Hawksbill Turtle photo by Paddy Ryan.

    We now have a full schedule of Fishinars planned for 2015. Topics ranging from fishes of Laguna Beach, common invertebrates of New England, Puffers and Porcupines of the Caribbean, and thanks to many requests, we even have a "Turtlinar" for you! If you haven't participated in one of our free, educational webinars yet, you don't know what you are missing! Known as Fishinars, these hour-long sessions enable you to learn and have fun from the comfort of your living room. Check out the full schedule and links to register at www.REEF.org/fishinars. Planned Fishinars for 2015 include:

    • May 18, 20, Common Fishes of Catalina Island, Parts 1 and 2, Taught by Janna Nicols
    • May 21, Snap on! Snap off! The Snapper, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • June 9, Dude, Let's Go Diving - Fishes of Laguna Beach Shore Dives, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • June 18, "Turtlinar" - Sea turtles around the world: are they in trouble?, Taught by Dr. Selina Heppell
    • June 24, Lesser Seen Fishes of Turks and Caicos, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • July 8, Rock On! California Rockfishes and Scorpionfish, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • July 14, Invertebrates of New England, Taught by Janna Nichols
    • July 16, Fishes of New England, Taught by Janna Nichols
    • July 21, Puffers and Porcupines of the Caribbean, Taught by Carlos and Allison
    • July 23, Pacific Coast Young of the Year (YOY) Rockfish ID, Taught by Janna Nichols
    • July 28, Fishes of Bonaire Shore Diving, Taught by Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens
    • September 1, Those Darn Damsels - Reboot, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • Sept 8, 10, 14, 16, Invertebrates and Algae of REEF's California Survey Project, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • September 30, Night Stalkers - Eels of the Caribbean, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • October 20, Islands in the Stream - Fishes of the California Channel Islands, Taught by Jonathan Lavan
    • November 16, The Ones You Should Know - Top 25 Fishes of the Caribbean, Taught by Jonathan Lavan

    Putting It To Work: New Publication on Role of Mangroves for Fish Populations

    Image courtesy Phil1stPix on Flickr.

    Mangroves provide important nursery habitat for coral reef fishes, such as grunts, snappers, and others. While this has been shown locally in some studies, a new paper by scientists from NOAA Fisheries and University of Miami RSMAS used REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project data to evaluate mangrove-reef connectivity at the Caribbean regional scale. Their findings, recently published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, showed that the size of nearby mangrove forests directly influences reef fish densities of at least 6 species.This study is a great example of the power and impact that long-term, wide-spread citizen science programs such as the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project can have on addressing important ecological and management questions that would otherwise be near impossible to evaluate. Way to go REEF surveyors! Visit www.REEF.org/db/publications to see this and all of the 50+ scientific publications that have included REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project data.

    Announcing 2017 REEF Trips Schedule

    Join us for our inaugural trip to the Galapagos in 2017.
    Also new in 2017 - an Alaska Wilderness Adventure trip.
    The underwater world of Dominica awaits. Photo by Ari Perryman.
    Learn about the invasive Lionfish in Curacao and The Bahamas.
    The schedule includes several liveaboard options, as well as land-based trips.

    We are excited to share our 2017 REEF Trips Schedule, with a fantastic lineup of destinations planned. These Field Survey Trips offer a great introduction to fish identification for novice surveyors, and are a fun way for experienced surveyors to build their life list while interacting with fellow marine life enthusiasts. We also offer several Lionfish Research Trips each year. REEF staff, board members, and other REEF experts lead these trips, and each trip features daily educational seminars and a full diving schedule. To find out more or to book your space, contact us at trips@REEF.org or call 305-588-5869. Visit www.REEF.org/trips for full package details. Trips fill up fast so don't delay. And be sure to check out the remaining 2016 trips that still have space, including: Lionfish trips to Honduras and Curacao, Bermuda, Palau & Yap, Barkley Sound BC, Saba, Coronado Island CA, Belize, and Cozumel.

    2017 REEF Field Survey Schedule

    February 18 - 25 -- Dominica -- Dive Dominica & Castle Comfort Lodge, Led by Lad Akins

    April 4 - 14 -- Solomon Islands -- M/V Bilikiki, Led by Christy Pattengill-Semmens

    April 22 - 29 -- Turks and Caicos Islands -- Dive Provo and Port of Call Resort, Led by Jonathan Lavan

    May 14 - 21 -- Galapagos Islands -- M/V Galapagos Sky Liveaboard, Led by Christy Pattengill-Semmens

    June 10 - 16 -- Alaska Wilderness Expedition - Port Fidalgo Inlet, Alaska -- Ravencroft Lodge, Led by Andy Dehart

    June 24 - July 1 -- Bahamas -- Lionfish Research Trip Explorer II Liveaboard, Led by Lad Akins and Peter Hughes

    June 24 - July 1 -- Roatan -- CoCo View Resort, Led by Janna Nichols and Scott & Patti Chandler

    August 19 - 26 -- Curacao -- Lionfish Research and Fish ID Trip Combo GO WEST Diving and Kura Hulanda Lodge, Led by Lad Akins, Peter Hughes, and Ellie Splain

    August 19 - 26 -- Sea of Cortez -- Rocio del Mar Liveaboard, Led by Christy and Brice Semmens, SOLD OUT

    September 2 - 9 -- Bequia -- Bequia Dive Adventures and Village Apartments, Led by Paul Humann

    October 1 - 8 -- Grand Cayman -- Sunset House, Led by Paul Humann

    October 14 - 25 -- Indonesia Lembeh Strait -- Eco Divers, Led by Ned and Anna DeLoach, SOLD OUT

    October 15 - 19 -- Hornby Island British Columbia -- Hornby Island Diving, Led by Janna Nichols

    November 4 - 11 -- Bonaire -- Captain Don's Habitat, Led by Amy Lee and Janna Nichols

    December 2 - 9 -- Cozumel -- Chili Charters and Casa Mexicana/Safari Inn, Led by Tracey Griffin

    December 3 - 9 -- British Virgin Islands -- Cuan Law Liveaboard, Led by Ellie Splain

    Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub