What a whirlwind 2020 has proven to be. This year marked REEF’s 30th anniversary of engaging citizen scientists in meaningful marine conservation. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, REEF has adapted in the face of adversity. Together, we accomplished so much. None of this would be possible without the support of REEF’s members and partners. Thank you for the incredible outpouring of support in 2020. 

Here’s to you and REEF’s next 30 years of marine conservation!

Christy Pattengill-Semmens Ph.D. and Martha Klitzkie
REEF Co-Executive Directors

Please take a few minutes to watch this video summary of just some of what we accomplished, together.

We’re On A Mission 

Together, we are conserving 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.

Join us! Jump in alongside 73,000 REEF members actively protecting marine species and places. From conducting a fish survey, joining in a Fishinar from the comfort of home, donating to provide financial support or reading about REEF’s latest work in our enews, there’s a unique role in conservation that’s just for you! 

These images are just a few highlights of our work.

Our Impact in 2020: Protecting the oceans in a changing world

Conserving marine environments worldwide. In 2020, REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project surpassed a quarter million surveys, making it the largest marine life database on the planet. In the face of climate change and increasing natural disasters, it is critical to ensure we can continue this vital dataset without interruption.

Building connections and bringing people together. Through online programming and virtual events for ocean enthusiasts around the globe, REEF has opened doors for communities and volunteer citizen scientists to participate in programs regardless of location.

Saving endangered species. Nassau Grouper populations in the Cayman Islands have been brought back from the brink of extinction through REEF’s Grouper Moon Project. Regarded as one of the best ocean conservation success stories, our collaborative research team is developing plans to safely continue the 19th year of this critical fieldwork in January 2021.

Educating tomorrow’s leaders. We are inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards through REEF’s Ocean Explorers Program and Marine Conservation Internships.

Reducing the impacts of invasive species. The Indo-Pacific Lionfish invasion of the western Atlantic continues. However, as a result of REEF programs, over 55,000 of these destructive predators have been removed from Florida and Caribbean reefs.

Developing collaborative, science-based solutions. REEF’s strategic partnerships with government agencies, science and academic institutions, and local organizations have generated concrete conservation results for many species and habitats.

Supporting diverse communities. Your support enabled us to create the Oceans for All Fund. This program brings education and mentoring opportunities to underserved individuals.


REEF's values reflect the grassroots nature of our work. We make the most of every dollar donated and focus on programs with the highest conservation impact and community reach. Our work would not be possible without our donors, who lend critical financial support to our mission.

2020 was an unusual year because of COVID-19 pandemic. REEF continued to allocate over 80% of our revenue to Program-related expenses. Our program income was down, but thanks to the generosity of our members, contribution income was higher than usual.


2019 - a more "typical" REEF year for programs


Looking Ahead to 2021

We’re building a community of ocean enthusiasts, and you are at the heart of REEF’s work. As we look forward, the need for REEF’s marine conservation work in 2021 is critical. From REEF’s humble beginnings to our biggest conservation success stories, members like you make our work possible. Your donation ensures REEF’s ocean conservation impact for years to come. 

From our small but mighty team of 8 staff and 10 board members, thank you for the role you have played in REEF’s ongoing story.