Where did you conduct your first REEF survey? What got you started?

I did my first survey in 2004 in Belize on a trip aboard the Peter Hughes liveaboard that was operating there at the time.  The crew were encouraging guests to try doing surveys.  I did three surveys in Bonaire the following year.  Then in 2008 I was introduced to Paul Humann by my friend Clay Wiseman because we were working together on a fish ID app.  I joined Paul & Ned in St. Vincent for a week of diving, then stayed for the REEF trip there.  After that I was hooked!

When and where did you do your 1,000th Survey? Tell us anything memorable about your 1,000th survey?

My 1,000th survey that is currently in the REEF database was done at a site named Cotton Candy in the Morovo Lagoon of the Solomon Islands on October 22, 2019.  This was the 4th dive on a fantastic trip to the Solomon Islands which included the REEF trip to Uepi Island Resort.  Cotton Candy was a very nice wall site. My most memorable sightings on that dive were a Semicircle Angelfish and a swarm of Striped Catfish.

Do you have any favorite dive spots in the places you’ve surveyed?

My favorite sites are often resort house reefs that I am able to dive multiple times and spend a lot of time surveying and finding the full range of species.  These include the lagoon and outer reef at Sorido Bay in Raja Ampat and Uepi Point at Uepi Island Resort in the Solomon Islands, where I recently got my highest ever single survey species count of 310.  I also really like sites where you can see fish species that are not usually seen by divers because they are deep water species, like Sias Tunnel in Palau.

What are some of your favorite fishes or invertebrates?  What makes them your favorite?  

My favorites are often the endemic fish that get to see for the first time and include on a survey, especially Dottyback species.  I also really like some of the colorful Tilefish that I can see deep on slopes, and unusual Angelfish and Anthias species.

What is your favorite thing/memory about REEF and the Volunteer Fish Survey Project?

My favorite thing is the diving and surveying in new and different places.  I also really like working with others to look at photos to figure out what new species we have seen. I like to help people on REEF trips who are learning the species to figure out what species they have photographed and how to recognize them.

What are your goals with REEF for the future?

Finish the ID from photos for all the unfinished surveys I have done in the past and get them submitted.  Continue doing trips to wonderful places and doing surveys, especially places in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.  I want to do my part to flesh out the REEF database in those relatively new regions.

Feel free to share anything else about yourself and your diving adventures!

I have been diving for 32 years and have done over 2,600 dives.  I have always enjoyed diving, but doing fish ID has made it a lot more interesting.  I started making lists of all the species of fish I saw on each trip I did long before I had even heard of REEF.  Once I found REEF, it was natural for me to start doing and submitting surveys so that knowledge that I had already begun to amass could be put to use.