To commemorate 25 years of REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project, a group of volunteer citizen scientist divers joined REEF staff and interns, along with co-founder Paul Humann, for a special 25th anniversary Field Survey Trip in Key Largo, Florida, last month. Key Largo is home to REEF Headquarters and was also the location for the very first REEF Field Survey Trip, held in July 1993. The attendees on the 2018 trip surveyed the same sites visited by participants on the 1993 Field Survey, to observe how fish populations have changed over past 25 years. The diving conditions for the recent trip could not have been better, with flat calm seas and great visibility underwater. Many surveyors said that the Wreck of the Benwood was their favorite dive site of the week, due to its high diversity of species and variety of habitat types. While the survey results are still being entered, preliminary data shows that the group sighted approximately 190 fish species over the course of ten dives. The group on the first project in 1993 reported 160 species over eight dives. Curious about what the group on the first-ever REEF Trip reported? You can view a batch report of the sightings here.
One of the best parts of attending a REEF Field Survey Trip is expanding your fish identification knowledge with fellow fishwatchers. In the evenings, the Key Largo trip participants enjoyed fish ID classes held in REEF’s new Interpretive Center. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Key Largo for this trip, as well as to Horizon Divers and Marina del Mar for hosting our group on this trip. If you’re interested in joining an upcoming REEF Field Survey Trip, check out the schedule at www.REEF.org/trips, and keep an eye out for the full 2019 trip listing, coming very soon!