All data submitted to REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project (VFSP) are housed in a publicly-assessible database that can be queried through a variety of reports on the REEF website. REEF recently partnered with Dr. Ross Robertson at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) to link the online REEF Species Distribution Reports to species accounts on STRI’s online information systems, “Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean” and “Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific”. By clicking on the REEF logo at the bottom of each species account in STRI’s system, the user can view a summary report of sightings for that species by REEF surveyors. We are excited about this opportunity to increase the reach and utility of REEF’s long-term fish sightings data in these regions. You can visit STRI's pages here - Greater Caribbean and Tropical Eastern Pacific.
In addition to online summary reports, REEF provides raw datafiles to researchers on request. More than 60 scientific publications have resulted from analyses conducted with REEF data. You can find a full list here. In the last few months, REEF has provided datafiles to:
- A postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who is looking at region-wide fish population trends in Florida and the Caribbean basin.
- Researchers from Oregon State University who are leading a working group to evaluate Sunflower Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) population trends and recovery from sea star wasting disease, and possible listing on the IUCN Red List.
- Staff from Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary to evaluate fish populations in the OCNMS for a NOAA Condition Report.
- A research fellow working with the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee to update their Marine Stewardship Area plan.
As we shared earlier this year, the VFSP database surpassed a quarter million surveys. Every one of the 16,000+ volunteers who has contributed toward this achievement helped REEF become the respected and effective marine citizen science organization it is today. In celebration of this milestone, we honored 108 of our most active volunteers, who had collectively submitted 88,155 of the surveys. Each received a certificate with some personalized stats from their VFSP efforts. We have loved seeing the pictures of these surveyors proudly displaying their quarter-million certificates. Check out the album of surveyors here.