REEF members are at the heart of our grassroots marine conservation programs. Over 60,000 divers, snorkelers, students, and armchair naturalists stand behind our mission.
This month we highlight Marjorie Davis, member since 2013. Marjorie has conducted 56 surveys. She lives and dives in Florida and she is a Level 3 Advanced surveyor in the TWA region. Here's what Marjorie had to say about REEF:
When and how did you first volunteer with REEF or become a REEF member? How did you first hear about REEF? My sister, Pam Slutz, found the REEF website and she and her husband, Ron Deutch, and I signed up for a REEF trip in Cozumel in Dec 2013. We had such a great time we became members and went back the following year, and Pam and I also did a REEF trip with Paul Humann in Key Largo in summer 2014. Carlos and Allison Estape gave a talk about the fish diversity at REEF HQ during that summer REEF trip, and that’s when I discovered Islamorada.
If you have been on a REEF Field Survey, where and what was your trip highlight? My first REEF trip was a real eye-opener for me because I had never really studied the reefs or fish when I dove; I was just siteseeing and couldn’t tell you what fish I was seeing. After one week, I was so excited to actually know some of them! It forever changed the way I dive. My favorite diving is on a REEF trip, especially live aboards, because there are so many people that know the fish and everyone is so willing to help you figure out what you’re looking at! I also find fish surveyors move much more slowly through the water than typical “sightseeing” divers, so I don’t get left behind so much when trying to ID an elusive blenny or cardinalfish.
Do you dive close to where you live, and if so, what is the best part about diving there? I’m an hour from Blue Heron Bridge/Phil Foster Park in West Palm and about four hours from Islamorada, and these are my favorite spots because of the diversity and relatively easy diving. Blue Heron gets bonus points because there are many interesting critters and because it’s a super easy 2+hr shore dive! My favorite dives in Islamorada are long 2+hr dives along the outside of the shallow reef and back on the shallower, rubbly side. The variation in habitat means I have a better chance of spotting more fish species, and someday I may actually be able to identify most of them! Add a Thursday night fish ID class at REEF HQ for a great 3-day weekend!
What is your favorite fish or marine invertebrate? I love blennies, any and all, though eels and cardinalfish are also favorites. They are all elusive and hide so spotting them isn’t easy, and even with a magnifying glass it can be hard to ID those blennies! I thought blennies were so cute until I saw a picture of one eating another one!! Oh well, they still LOOK cute. Identifying a cardinalfish in a deep, dark reef crevice is also challenging, and while eels aren’t exactly shy, it’s always a thrill to spot one swimming; I got to watch a huge green moray swim for quite a while on a REEF trip to Palau last year.
Do you have a favorite local (or not) REEF field station or dive shop? My favorite dive operator is Key Dives in Islamorada. Friendly and professional, they know the reefs and probably most of the local REEF members. I especially like going out with other REEF members on one of their boats.