Thanks for your interest in REEF Fish & Friends! We are pleased to welcome Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., REEF Director of Science, as this month's speaker.
The rapid evolution of digital underwater imaging technology has resulted in a broad expansion of underwater photography among scuba divers. Such photography, once the domain of technical specialists, has allowed citizen scientists to record, identify, and inventory species well after their dive gear is dry. REEF has maintained a citizen science fish survey program for the last 26 years, an interval of time that encompasses the advent of digital camera commercial availability. Christy will discuss how underwater digital photography has changed the game for these diving citizen scientists, and how photo documentation, in concert with social media applications, has led to a vibrant, interactive community of amateur natural historians. She will also discuss how digital imaging by this community has altered our understanding of species-specific distributions, commonness, and habitat specialization. Finally, Christy will preview some of what the future holds for new ways divers and snorkelers will be able to engage through the Volunteer Fish Survey Project.
Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., is REEF’s Director of Science, and has been with the organization since its early days in the summer of 1993 when she served as a Nature Conservancy intern. After receiving her Ph.D., she joined the REEF staff in 1998 and has been with the organization since. She has spent over two decades overseeing the expansion of REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project and facilitating the incorporation of citizen science data into resource management and the scientific literature. Christy regularly advises on developing scalable citizen science programs, and has worked with the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council citizen science framework, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Government of the Azores, among others. She received her undergraduate Biology degree from University of Southern California and doctorate from Texas A&M University in Zoology. For the last five years she has maintained a visiting scientist position with the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
REEF Fish & Friends is a free, monthly seminar series that features engaging ocean-themed presentations from guest speakers. Snorkelers, divers, and marine life enthusiasts are invited to join informal discussions and mingle with members of our friendly, ocean-minded community. Complimentary appetizers and refreshments are provided. The evening kicks off with a social starting at 6:15pm, and the presentation begins at 7pm.