Making It Count - December 2017

It's Not Too Late to Make a Difference in 2017!

Donors of $250 or more during our winter campaign will receive this signed and numbered photograph of schooling hammerhead sharks taken in the Galapagos. Photo by Paul Humann.

Happy New Year and thank you to all our members who have donated during our winter fundraising campaign! Because of your support, we are able to conserve marine environments worldwide. If you have not yet contributed, we still need your help! We are approaching the last few days to make a tax-deductible donation for 2017. Please take a moment to contribute online at www.REEF.org/donate. You may also mail your donation to REEF at PO Box 370246, Key Largo, FL 33037, or call us at 305-852-0030.

The health of the oceans is more important now than ever, and in the coming year, REEF will continue working to protect biodiversity and ocean life. Individual gifts from members like you make what we do possible, and we are so grateful for your support.

As a special thank you, donors of $250 or more will receive a limited-edition, signed, and numbered print of schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks that I photographed in the Galapagos Islands. Click here to make your year-end gift today.

Thank you for being a part of REEF, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.We wish you all the best in the new year!

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Putting it to Work: New Publication Showing Link Between Land Impacts and Fish Populations

Figure 4a from Roberts et al 2017 paper in "Ocean & Coastal Management", showing a topographic map of Bonaire.

We are proud to share details on a recent scientific paper published using REEF data - "Terrestrial degradation impacts on coral reef health: Evidence from the Caribbean" by M. Roberts et al. This was the 7th scientific paper using REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project data or other REEF projects published in 2017.

In this paper, published in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management, REEF fish survey data collected from Bonaire in 2015 were used to help evaluate the impact of terrestrial degradation on nearby coral reefs, specifically investigating the link between vegetation ground cover and tree biomass index to coral cover, fish communities, and visibility. The authors found a positive relationship between ground cover and coral cover below 10 m depth, and a negative relationship between tree biomass index and coral cover below 10 m. Greater ground cover is associated with sediment anchored through root systems, and higher surface complexity, slowing water flow, which would otherwise transport sediment. The negative relationship between tree biomass index and coral cover is unexpected, and may be a result of the deep roots associated with dry-forest trees, due to limited availability of water, which therefore do not anchor surface sediment, or contribute to surface complexity. The analysis provides evidence that coral reef managers could improve reef health through engaging in terrestrial ecosystem protection, for example by taking steps to reduce grazing pressures, or in restoring degraded forest ecosystems. 

To see all of the scientific papers featuring REEF data, visit www.REEF.org/db/publications.

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The Faces of REEF: 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Nancy Perez

REEF is proud to announce Nancy Perez as our 2017 Volunteer of the Year. REEF has over 67,000 members and Nancy is proud of her longtime support as member number 589! Nancy originally joined REEF because of her interest in diving, marine fishes and underwater photography.

When she moved to Key Largo in 1996, Nancy was closer to REEF’s Headquarters and looked for ways to be active in the community, learning more about REEF while volunteering for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Despite joining in 1993, Nancy did not complete her first fish survey until 2005 while on a REEF Field Survey Trip in Key Largo, led by Paul Humann. Nancy has since conducted more than 50 TWA fish surveys.

In 2008, Nancy began to dedicate more time to REEF by volunteering as a part of REEF’s outreach events committee, assisting with the fundraiser dinner event, For the Love of the Sea. From there, Nancy was a part of the committee that planned REEF’s first Fish & Friends event in March of 2009. Since then Nancy has taken a lead role in organizing the monthly Fish & Friends seminar series by organizing speakers to present at the event, encouraging other volunteers to bring food and drinks to the social gathering before the seminar, and advertising the event throughout the Upper Keys community by distributing flyers to more than 30 local businesses each month.

Today, Nancy is formally REEF’s Volunteer Coordinator, an entirely volunteer position. She has organized nearly 100 Fish & Friends events, and planned or assisted in the organization of many other events, including REEF’s annual holiday party, the dedication of REEF’s Headquarters building in 2009, and every REEF Fest event since the event began in 2013.Nancy also assists with REEF’s Invasive Lionfish Program by coordinating volunteers to make and serve lionfish ceviche during Invasive Lionfish Derbies.

Nancy is an invaluable member of REEF who brings style and flare to our events hosted in South Florida. Nancy shares her passion with all who she encounters, making her a wonderful ambassador for REEF and our mission. We are so grateful for the time, enthusiasm, and dedication that Nancy offers REEF. Nancy – Thank You and Congratulations!

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New "Grumpy Grouper" T-shirt

Earlier this month we added a new color of the fabulous "Grumpy Grouper" t-shirt to REEF's online store. The "Grumpy Grouper" shirt features artwork from REEF friend and world famous painter, diver, and character extraordinaire, Ron Steven (aka Rogest). Painted in support of REEF's Grouper Moon Project, "Grumpy" features the face of a Nassau Grouper, with the tag line "Extinction Makes Me Grumpy". The new shirt can be ordered here. 

And more about the Grouper Moon Project can be found here.

 

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REEF Survey Tip: Geographic Zone Codes

Are you a REEF surveyor? Wondering about Geographic Zone Codes for our survey sites? The REEF Zone Codes are a hierarchical system used to organize survey sites by region. You can find the zone code listings by going to www.REEF.org > Database > Geographic Zone Codes > then select the region you want, and then use the interactive maps to find your specific location.

If you can't find what you're looking for on the list, we can add new locations! Just contact zonecode@REEF.org and let Janna know more specifics about where you were diving/snorkeling (landmarks, parks, hotels, street intersections, bridge names, etc.), and she can help find the site code, or create one if it doesn't exist. GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) are even more helpful if you can get them off your GPS or phone, from the dive charter, on Google Earth, or by going to: http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/.

Back to top

Putting it to Work: New Publication Showing Link Between Land Impacts and Fish Populations

Figure 4a from Roberts et al 2017 paper in "Ocean & Coastal Management", showing a topographic map of Bonaire.

We are proud to share details on a recent scientific paper published using REEF data - "Terrestrial degradation impacts on coral reef health: Evidence from the Caribbean" by M. Roberts et al. This was the 7th scientific paper using REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project data or other REEF projects published in 2017.

In this paper, published in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management, REEF fish survey data collected from Bonaire in 2015 were used to help evaluate the impact of terrestrial degradation on nearby coral reefs, specifically investigating the link between vegetation ground cover and tree biomass index to coral cover, fish communities, and visibility. The authors found a positive relationship between ground cover and coral cover below 10 m depth, and a negative relationship between tree biomass index and coral cover below 10 m. Greater ground cover is associated with sediment anchored through root systems, and higher surface complexity, slowing water flow, which would otherwise transport sediment. The negative relationship between tree biomass index and coral cover is unexpected, and may be a result of the deep roots associated with dry-forest trees, due to limited availability of water, which therefore do not anchor surface sediment, or contribute to surface complexity. The analysis provides evidence that coral reef managers could improve reef health through engaging in terrestrial ecosystem protection, for example by taking steps to reduce grazing pressures, or in restoring degraded forest ecosystems. 

To see all of the scientific papers featuring REEF data, visit www.REEF.org/db/publications.

New "Grumpy Grouper" T-shirt

Earlier this month we added a new color of the fabulous "Grumpy Grouper" t-shirt to REEF's online store. The "Grumpy Grouper" shirt features artwork from REEF friend and world famous painter, diver, and character extraordinaire, Ron Steven (aka Rogest). Painted in support of REEF's Grouper Moon Project, "Grumpy" features the face of a Nassau Grouper, with the tag line "Extinction Makes Me Grumpy". The new shirt can be ordered here. 

And more about the Grouper Moon Project can be found here.

 

REEF Survey Tip: Geographic Zone Codes

Are you a REEF surveyor? Wondering about Geographic Zone Codes for our survey sites? The REEF Zone Codes are a hierarchical system used to organize survey sites by region. You can find the zone code listings by going to www.REEF.org > Database > Geographic Zone Codes > then select the region you want, and then use the interactive maps to find your specific location.

If you can't find what you're looking for on the list, we can add new locations! Just contact zonecode@REEF.org and let Janna know more specifics about where you were diving/snorkeling (landmarks, parks, hotels, street intersections, bridge names, etc.), and she can help find the site code, or create one if it doesn't exist. GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) are even more helpful if you can get them off your GPS or phone, from the dive charter, on Google Earth, or by going to: http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/.

It's Not Too Late to Make a Difference in 2017!

Donors of $250 or more during our winter campaign will receive this signed and numbered photograph of schooling hammerhead sharks taken in the Galapagos. Photo by Paul Humann.

Happy New Year and thank you to all our members who have donated during our winter fundraising campaign! Because of your support, we are able to conserve marine environments worldwide. If you have not yet contributed, we still need your help! We are approaching the last few days to make a tax-deductible donation for 2017. Please take a moment to contribute online at www.REEF.org/donate. You may also mail your donation to REEF at PO Box 370246, Key Largo, FL 33037, or call us at 305-852-0030.

The health of the oceans is more important now than ever, and in the coming year, REEF will continue working to protect biodiversity and ocean life. Individual gifts from members like you make what we do possible, and we are so grateful for your support.

As a special thank you, donors of $250 or more will receive a limited-edition, signed, and numbered print of schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks that I photographed in the Galapagos Islands. Click here to make your year-end gift today.

Thank you for being a part of REEF, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.We wish you all the best in the new year!

The Faces of REEF: 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Nancy Perez

REEF is proud to announce Nancy Perez as our 2017 Volunteer of the Year. REEF has over 67,000 members and Nancy is proud of her longtime support as member number 589! Nancy originally joined REEF because of her interest in diving, marine fishes and underwater photography.

When she moved to Key Largo in 1996, Nancy was closer to REEF’s Headquarters and looked for ways to be active in the community, learning more about REEF while volunteering for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Despite joining in 1993, Nancy did not complete her first fish survey until 2005 while on a REEF Field Survey Trip in Key Largo, led by Paul Humann. Nancy has since conducted more than 50 TWA fish surveys.

In 2008, Nancy began to dedicate more time to REEF by volunteering as a part of REEF’s outreach events committee, assisting with the fundraiser dinner event, For the Love of the Sea. From there, Nancy was a part of the committee that planned REEF’s first Fish & Friends event in March of 2009. Since then Nancy has taken a lead role in organizing the monthly Fish & Friends seminar series by organizing speakers to present at the event, encouraging other volunteers to bring food and drinks to the social gathering before the seminar, and advertising the event throughout the Upper Keys community by distributing flyers to more than 30 local businesses each month.

Today, Nancy is formally REEF’s Volunteer Coordinator, an entirely volunteer position. She has organized nearly 100 Fish & Friends events, and planned or assisted in the organization of many other events, including REEF’s annual holiday party, the dedication of REEF’s Headquarters building in 2009, and every REEF Fest event since the event began in 2013.Nancy also assists with REEF’s Invasive Lionfish Program by coordinating volunteers to make and serve lionfish ceviche during Invasive Lionfish Derbies.

Nancy is an invaluable member of REEF who brings style and flare to our events hosted in South Florida. Nancy shares her passion with all who she encounters, making her a wonderful ambassador for REEF and our mission. We are so grateful for the time, enthusiasm, and dedication that Nancy offers REEF. Nancy – Thank You and Congratulations!

Effectiveness of Lionfish Removal Derbies Assessed in New Scientific Paper

Can members of the public help protect our environment from invasive species?
RELEASE DATE
01/10/2018
CONTACT
Ashley Yarbrough, ashley@REEF.org 305-852-0030

New research led by scientists from Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) shows for the first time that volunteers are successfully defending local marine habitats against a global invader. The study, published in Conservation Letters this month, examines volunteers participating in annual fishing ‘derbies’ for invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish in the Tropical Western Atlantic, an exotic predator which consumes a range of native species and now occupies millions of square miles of marine habitat. From 2012 to 2014, the team, led by REEF affiliate scientist Dr. Stephanie Green of Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions, found that derbies reduced lionfish numbers by 52% over a 192 km^2  area on average during these single-day events each year.  

To measure the effect of the volunteers’ fishing for lionfish—done primarily with nets and spears while snorkeling or scuba diving—REEF scientists surveyed lionfish and native fish species in marine environments off South Florida and in the Bahamas before and after each event. They also worked with derby organizers to document where participants fished, and the numbers and sizes of lionfish they captured. Running the data through an ecological model, the team found that before the derbies in 2012 lionfish were above levels likely to impact the native fish species they eat. However, all of the derbies they studied reduced densities of the spiny invader below levels predicted to be harmful. Areas outside the reach of volunteers continued to harbor higher number of lionfish. 

The scientists found that lionfish numbers rebounded quickly after all of the derbies, likely from nearby populations that are not culled in the derbies—meaning that removal must continue in the long term to keep invasion levels low. How often do derbies need to happen? It depends, says Dr. Green.  “In the Florida Keys, we saw lionfish getting bigger over time as the invasion progressed. Bigger lionfish have a larger impact on their prey base, and so more of them need to be removed. In South Florida, and other regions with similar conditions, derbies could be combined with other types of removal or held more than once a year to keep the invasion in check. ” In contrast, lionfish sizes and numbers decreased over the study in the Bahamas, meaning that a single day event had a bigger impact from year to year.

Co-author Lad Akins, REEF’s Director of Special Projects, emphasized that derbies are just one tool that managers have in their tool box for addressing invasions like the lionfish. Providing incentives for removal is key”, said Akins. “Lionfish is a tasty, green, alternative seafood choice and many restaurants and retailers, including Whole Foods, now offer it.” 

Derbies and tournaments for exotic species have become an increasingly popular way to educate the public about invasive species, and gather specimens for research.  REEF organized the first lionfish derby in 2009, and similar events are now held across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Western Atlantic.  This study indicates that continuing such events makes a positive impact on the health of our coral reefs and fisheries.

About REEF: REEF conserves marine environments worldwide. Our mission is to protect biodiversity and ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public through citizen science, education, and partnerships with the scientific community. 

To read the full article, follow this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12426/full

Elizabeth Underwood, REEF scientist and graduate student at the University of Charleston, surveys invasive lionfish in South Florida. Lionfish occupy virtually all types of coastal habitats found in the tropical Western Atlantic.Elizabeth Underwood, REEF scientist and graduate student at the University of Charleston, surveys invasive lionfish in South Florida. Lionfish occupy virtually all types of coastal habitats found in the tropical Western Atlantic.

Volunteer Jen Russell holds an invasive lionfish captured during a lionfish derby in South Florida.Volunteer Jen Russell holds an invasive lionfish captured during a lionfish derby in South Florida.

Thermal 130 Reusable Heat Pack

$16.00

These new and improved Thermal 130 reusable heat packs from our friends at ZooKeeper are even better than before. They are larger than most heat packs on the market (4" x 6") and they heat up to 130˚- 135˚!

In the event of a lionfish sting underwater, the ZooKeeper Thermal 130 reuseable heat packs will allow you to place heat on the affected area. They can also be used to warm yourself up when diving in cold conditions. Just click the button, and the reaction begins. The liquid will solidify and become hot. Once used, just wrap heat pack in a small towel, place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow water to cool before removing heat pack from pot.

Two heat packs in the package.

$16.00
Mar 22
7:00pm

Lionfish Dissection

Location: 
Diver's Direct

Nature Notebooks

$21.00

These high-quality journals feature carved wood covers and REEF's tagline, Explore. Discover. Make a Difference..

Three designs to chose from - Seashells and Kelp, Seahorse, and Octopus. Scribble away on the blank pages inside and be confident that your sketches and notes are here to stay!

7.25" x 5.75"

$21.00
Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub