REEF Fest Seminars


Come learn about the amazing marine environment and the drastic changes that threaten our oceans! All seminars are free, but pre-registration is requested. Please check back here as we continue to update the schedule. 

Click here to register 

Seminars will be hosted at the Murray Nelson Government Center on September 20-22. Please see the detailed schedule below: 

Thursday, September 20: Sunset Picnic and seminar from 6 - 8:30pm

Citizen Science in Action: Using REEF Data to Protect Goliath Grouper in Florida

Dr. Christopher Koenig and Dr. Felicia C. Coleman

The endangered Goliath Grouper can weigh more than 800 lbs. and gathers in large spawning aggregations off the coast of South Florida annually. Drs. Koenig and Coleman have studied these aggregations and published two scientific papers on this species. They will discuss their research and share how REEF data helped them evaluate how the presence of Goliath Groupers affects biodiversity, as well as explain how these findings translate to the rest of the Caribbean.


Friday, September 21: Seminars from 2:30 - 5:30pm 

Diving in the Florida Keys - A Fishy Experience

REEF Volunteers Carlos and Allison Estape

Come learn what makes the Florida Keys such a unique and divers place to dive! Local experts Carlos and Allison Estape will share tips on where to see 100 or more fish species on a single dive, with a special emphasis on uncommon fish species found in the Keys. They will also discuss their findings from several years spent surveying Alligator Reef in Islamorada, and provide insight on how Hurricane Irma has affected the marine environments of the Florida Keys.

Carlos and Allison Estape are residents of Islamorada, Florida and previous REEF Volunteers of the Year. They teach many REEF Fishinars and a free monthly fish identification class at REEF Headquarters. They are also published underwater photographers, creators of the website, and published authors of "The Fishes of Alligator Reef and Environs". The are REEF level 5 TWA Fish ID Experts with over 450 surveys, members of the Advanced Assessment Team, and proud supporters of the REEF Marine Conservation Internship Program.

In the wake of an environmental disaster - is there a silver lining?

Dr. Martin Grosell, Professor, University of Miami RSMAS/MBE

 Dr. Martin Grosell will discuss the impacts of the largest marine oil spill in US history, the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Extensive research efforts since 2010 have not only characterized the damage to the biology in the Gulf of Mexico but have also taught the scientific community about first response strategies for future oil spills and have provided extensive information about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. The Gulf of Mexico is the spawning grounds for many ocean fish species including tunas, billfishes and mahi-mahi of high economic and ecological importance. Our work to quantify impact of the oil spill has provided a wealth of new baseline information about the life of these majestic top predators and the role they play in open oceans.


Saturday, September 22: Seminars from 2:30 - 5:30pm 

 REEF Citizen Science Update

Lad Akins, REEF Director of Special Projects

Join in this interactive discussion of research, legislation, and outreach efforts that are having positive effects on marine life throughout the world. See how citizen-based efforts are having major influences and where new efforts are leading us.

Lad Akins, REEF's Director of Special Projects, is renowned as a leading expert on invasive lionfish and reef fish identification. Lad helped develop REEF's acclaimed Volunteer Fish Survey Program and has led field research projects around the world. He has discovered and described new species of reef fish, authored more than 20 journal publications and conducted thousands of fish surveys throughout the Tropical Western Atlantic.

Stressed Out: Three Decades of Nitrogen Enrichment on Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys and Caribbean Region

Dr. Brian Lapointe, Florida Atlantic University

 Dr. Brian E. Lapointe is internationally renowned for his research on water quality in tropical and subtropical seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. Brian obtained a BS in Biology from Boston University, a MS in Evironmental Science from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of South Florida. He has worked at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and is currently a Research Professor in the Marine Ecosystem Health Program at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Ft. Pierce, FL. Since 1974, Dr. Lapointe has assessed nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms in coastal waters of South Florida and the Caribbean region. Although his current work focuses on the declining health of the Indian River Lagoon and the Sargassum influx to the Caribbean region, he has led numerous research expeditions throughout the Caribbean. Dr. Lapointe pioneered the use of stable nitrogen isotopes in algae to 'fingerprint' landbased nitrogen sources and established the longest low-level nutrient record for a coral reef anywhere in the world at Looe Key reef in the lower Florida Keys. He has published peer-reviewed scientific papers and recieved numerous awards for his work. 



Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub