December 20, 2022 - REEF is seeking a postdoctoral or equivalent ecologist/fisheries scientist with a background in quantitative methods and an interest in citizen science to join our team under a multi-year contract. Work location flexible. Please share widely in your networks. Applications for the position will be reviewed starting January 20, 2023.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF; is recruiting a postdoctoral scholar (or equivalent) ecologist/fisheries scientist with a background in quantitative methods and an interest in marine citizen science. The successful candidate for this position will use their expertise to support the goals of REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project and accomplish the deliverables of REEF’s SMILE (Size Matters: Innovative Length Estimate) Project. The SMILE project aims to incorporate emerging 3D video technologies into citizen science programs in order to generate length-frequency data vital for fisheries assessment and management. The selected candidate will work with project partners to analyze diver-collected fish length data from a companion protocol to REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project and validate the protocol by pairing the SMILE surveys with concurrent traditional diver-based survey methods.

This position will require careful method development; organizational and analytical skills; good communication and public outreach; and may include field work in the Florida Keys in the summers of 2023, 2024, and/or 2025. This is a contract position (full time, without benefits), spanning 28 months, with flexibility in the location/living (remote work possible). Desired start date is June 1, 2023 (earlier start date possible but not later).

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in quantitative fisheries science (in particular, length frequency analysis) and a desire to shepherd innovative, technology-assisted marine citizen science. Experience with video hardware and software technology testing and development is a preferred. Detailed job description is below. Questions can be directed to

REEF coordinates the world’s largest scuba diving citizen science program. The REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project, a 30+ year ocean observing citizen-science time series, now covers nearly all regions of the global oceans. Data from this program support conservation science, fisheries assessments, and has resulted in the discovery of numerous fish species.

To Apply: Applicants should send a CV, contact information for three references, and a cover letter outlining their interest in the position as well as their relevant skills and experience to , attn: Alli Candelmo (REEF Citizen Science Program Manager) and Christy Pattengill-Semmens (REEF Co-Executive Director). Review of applicants will begin January 20, 2023, until the position is filled.

REEF is an equal opportunity employer: All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Position Title: Post-Doctoral Research Associate/Research Associate

Work Type: Full-Time

Contractor Time Period: June 2023-September 2025

Location: TBD (remote, Key Largo FL)

Job Description: The successful candidate for this position will support REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project and accomplish the deliverables of REEF’s SMILE (Size Matters:Innovative Length Estimate) Project. REEF, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) are partnering together on the SMILE Project funded through NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) to develop an innovative method to collect fish length data through 3D video technology that enhances the data available for fisheries management in the South Atlantic region, USA. The selected candidate will work with project partners to incorporate diver-collected fish length data as a companion protocol to REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project and validate the protocol by pairing the SMILE surveys with concurrent Roving Visual Census (RVC) point count method surveys as well as comparison to data collected at select sites through the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) RVC surveys in 2023 and 2024.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Assist with coordination of SMILE project fieldwork and method development.
  • Support camera development and software technology testing.
  • Engage and train citizen scientists with a protocol to collect abundance and length data of reef-associated species.
  • Perform and oversee database management in collaboration with SECOORA.
  • Oversee completion of all video and length-based data analysis.
  • Coordinate Stakeholder Panel and partner meetings in Year 2 and Year 3.
  • Travel to meet with partners and for project-relevant field-based studies.
  • Analyze abundance and length data collected through SMILE surveys, validate against RVC point count methods and synthesize results.
  • Disseminate research findings to management agencies, the scientific community, and general public through presentations at professional meetings, public outreach activities, and in publications.
  • Assist with organization and implementation of all education and outreach components relevant to the SMILE project.
  • Lead project related peer-reviewed publications.
  • Participate in other REEF programmatic events if interested, and schedule permitting.

Minimum Requirements:  The position requires an advanced degree in marine sciences, quantitative fisheries science, ecosystem-based modeling or a related discipline. The ideal applicant has a background in marine fish natural history, strong quantitative skills, experience working with large/disparate data sets, and strength in fisheries assessment. The applicant should have a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively. While applicants with PhD are preferred, a Masters degree with 5+ years of relevant experience will be considered.

Preferred Qualifications:           

  • A background in quantitative fisheries science
  • Experience working with camera and software technology
  • Strong quantitative and computer programming skills (e.g. proficiency with R and its application to ecological-based statistics)
  • Experience managing and analyzing large data sets
  • Effective skills in communication, collaboration, organization, teamwork, and leadership
  • PADI Rescue Dive Certification or higher (diving is not mandatory but preferred)

Work Location and Supervisor: Contractor location is to-be-decided, and will be selected based on the preferences of the candidate and the needs of the position (i.e. remote work arrangements possible). The selected candidate will report primarily to Dr. Alli Candelmo, REEF Conservation Science Manager, and secondarily to Dr. Christy Pattengil-Semmens, REEF Co-Executive Director.

Time Frame: This position is a 100% time appointment, ideally beginning June 1, 2023. The appointment can be up to 28 months, contingent on performance. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible.

Compensation: This is a term contract postdoctoral research position (Salary $50,000-$55,000 per year depending on experience, without benefits), spanning 28 months, with opportunity for continuation pending additional funding support.

Travel Compensation: REEF will pay travel and related expenses for travel as needed for fieldwork and outreach events, with estimates to be approved in advance.



In order to be considered, please email your cover letter and CV, including contact information for 3 references, to, Attn: Alli Candelmo (REEF Citizen Science Program Manager) and Christy Pattengill-Semmens (REEF Co-Executive Director).

Review of applicants will begin January 20, 2023 until the position is filled.


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. Patterned after the successful Audubon and Cornell birding programs, REEF has grown into a 74,000-plus member organization with programs in place globally. Primary among these programs is the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, enabling marine enthusiasts to conduct surveys and submit sightings data from oceans worldwide. 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 255,000 marine life surveys have been submitted.

In addition to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, REEF maintains a large and active diver education program with standardized course materials for each of its survey regions. Strong partnerships within the diving industry and effective outreach provide opportunities for thousands of divers 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 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 Team is split among remote employees throughout the US and an in-person team at the REEF Campus, in Key Largo, Florida (US). The Campus includes an Interpretive Center and nature trails, serves as an educational center for visitors and groups. It is also the Headquarters 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.

REEF is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.