The REEF Marine Conservation Fellows Program is designed to equip recent college graduates and other early career individuals with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in marine conservation. 

At any given time, REEF will have a Fellow in one or more of the following roles:

  1. Education and Events Fellow
  2. Communications and Outreach Fellow
  3. Conservation Science Fellow

For more information on each Fellow position, review the position descriptions linked here:

Main Fellow Program Webpage

Organization Background: 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. REEF programs include marine life education, field research, and one of the largest citizen science programs in the world through unique partnerships with private, governmental, scientific, and educational sectors. REEF’s programs directly benefit and help to protect marine life worldwide.

REEF was founded in 1990 as a way to educate scuba divers and snorkelers in marine life identification and to utilize their marine life sightings. REEF's efforts were originally focused in the tropical Western Atlantic. It has since grown in to a global organization, with programs in temperate and tropical oceans world-wide, and REEF has over 76,000 members.

Primary among these programs is the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, enabling marine enthusiasts to conduct surveys and submit sightings data from oceans worldwide. Patterned after the successful Audubon birding program, the Christmas Bird Count, the Volunteer Fish Survey Project has created the largest and longest running marine life database in the world. Data are managed by REEF staff and made available to researchers, scientists, managers, and the public free of charge via REEF’s online database at To date, more than 270,000 marine life surveys have been submitted.

In addition to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, REEF maintains a large and active diver and snorkeler education program with standardized course materials for each survey regions. Strong partnerships within the diving industry and effective outreach provide opportunities for thousands of divers and snorkelers to learn about marine life and take part in surveying activities throughout the year. REEF’s other key programs include the Grouper Moon Project – researching grouper spawning aggregations; the Invasive Species Program – tracking the impact and control of non-native marine fish species, particularly the human-induced invasion of Indo-Pacific lionfish into the Tropical West Atlantic; and Special Projects – assessing fish population changes in and around marine reserves and in the areas of newly developed artificial reefs. REEF also offers Ocean Explorers Education Programs for student groups to engage in field survey and data gathering expeditions, hosts numerous public events and manages several recurring communications streams such as monthly electronic newsletters. REEF maintains strong partnerships with federal, state, and local government agencies as well as other US-based and international agencies, NGOs, and business entities. 

The REEF Campus is located in Key Largo, Florida (US). It features an Interpretive Center, Headquarters building, and nature trails, and serves as an educational center for visitors and groups. It is also the base for supporting REEF’s international programs and worldwide membership. REEF maintains a physical and online store of field supplies, reference ID books, and REEF branded merchandise. A portion of the staff team based at the REEF Campus in the Florida Keys, and the other half distributed around the US. The REEF Campus serves as a nature center that engages the public to learn more about marine resources and ocean conservation in the Florida Keys while showcasing its cultural heritage. Many of the Ocean Explorers Education programs are hosted at the Campus, including customized interactive classroom and field-based programs for groups of all ages, from half-day Discovery Programs to full-service multiday travel Expedition Programs. REEF Marine Conservation Fellows and Interns play a pivotal role in teaching and leading these programs.