Our annual winter fundraising campaign is underway! 2020 is the 30th anniversary of REEF, and we need your support to give us a strong start for 2021, and our next 30 years. Members like you make our marine conservation work possible. REEF Trustees and noted marine life authors Ned and Anna DeLoach have put together this special video message for the REEF family. You can view Ned and Anna's video here. To make a gift this holiday season, please visit www.REEF.org/donate. From all of us at REEF, thank you for your generous support and dedication to ocean conservation.
All are also invited to join Ned and Anna for an Ocean Chat celebrating 30 years of REEF. This online event will take place on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8pm EST via Zoom. Click here to register.
REEF members are the heart of our grassroots marine conservation programs. A diverse community of divers, snorkelers, and ocean enthusiasts support our mission to conserve marine environments worldwide.
This month we highlight REEF member Tiffany Poon. She is an enthusiastic surveyor and in April 2020, she became a Level 5 Expert in the Pacific Coast (PAC) region, where she has conducted more than 200 surveys. Tiffany is also dive instructor, and loves to dive and survey in her home waters near San Diego, California. Thank you, Tiffany, for being a dedicated surveyor and part of the REEF family!
When and how did you first volunteer with REEF or become a REEF member?
I became a REEF volunteer on October 12, 2011! I remember it well, because I had just begun diving with a local group called Power Scuba, and they announced a Fish ID class with Herb Gruenhagen at Ocean Enterprises where I'd earned my PADI Advanced Open Water certification two years before. It was the perfect calling, because I'd been working on my own to identify the creatures in the new-to-me La Jolla waters, and here was someone who was going to help me do it while offering a chance to give back in the process.
Do you dive close to where you live, and if so, what is the best part about diving there?
When I'm diving, I like when it can fulfill multiple purposes at once. Whether I'm focusing on photography or guiding clients underwater, it's easy to note the species we see and submit a REEF survey. The majority of my surveys have been at La Jolla Shores because it's only two miles from my house and the most often accessible shore dive site nearby. It has been wonderful to truly get to know our canyon there and witness how it grows and changes over the years. I also enjoy diving La Jolla Cove and Scripps Canyon. I especially love La Jolla Cove in the spring when we have a chance to see my favorite Sevengill Sharks gracefully swimming through the kelp forest. They've made a great showing the past few years and I hope that will continue. Scripps Canyon is also very special because it holds such a historic place in marine sciences thanks to researchers at the neighboring Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It starts deeper than the canyon at La Jolla Shores and somehow feels a little wilder, with its colourful gorgonians, steep walls, and plethora of nudibranchs. We were very grateful that the University of California granted us beach access to survey the canyon there for some time.
What is your favorite part about being a REEF member?
There are many layers to why I love REEF. Many species still challenge me--I can never attend too many Rockfish Fishinars! As I expand the regions I visit to dive, I hope to be able to survey sites away from home, too. The more data we collect to support researchers, the more they can learn and tell us about these amazing creatures and places we merely glimpse on our dives, and I am curious about so many of them. The REEF membership has been wonderful, from the classroom, to the field, and at trade shows where I always look forward to visiting the REEF booth. And I think the most important community aspect of REEF may be properly introducing us to our underwater denizens. Once an animal has a name, you notice them more often and observe more closely. People love more what they know. For me it begins to provide a framework for seeing the underwater ecosystem we visit as a whole and deepens my understanding of what's around me.
Do you have any surveying, fishwatching, or identification tips for REEF members?
If you're wondering at all about the marine life you see on your dives, I really encourage you to attend a local REEF class. Take the plunge and you'll never regret it! Fast forward to present day, I'm now Vice President of Power Scuba, we still send our members to Herb's Fish ID classes at Ocean Enterprises, and I'm hoping to advance my survey skills. It has been an amazing journey. I can't wait to see what the future holds!
With a new year about to begin, we've put together a full schedule of online programs for you to look forward to. We'll continue to offer our Fishinars, which are free marine life ID webinars. We have also added a variety of other online programs including Fishy Hour Game Nights, Fish Face-to-Face socials, quarterly Into the Blue Book Club meetings, an annual holiday craft, and more. Sessions are hosted on either GoToWebinar or Zoom, and all details are avilable on each online program registration page.
Upcoming Online Programs:
Thursday, December 10 - 8PM EST: Into the Blue Book Club - We will be discussing What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe. All are welcome to attend.
Thursday, December 17 - 8PM EST: Ocean Chat with Ned and Anna DeLoach - Join us for a special evening with REEF Trustees Ned and Anna DeLoach, as we look back on 30 years of marine conservation with REEF.
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 8PM EST: Things That Go Bump in the Night - New England Diving After Dark Fishinar
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 8pm EST: Grouper Moon Jeopardy Game - Everyone's favorite fish, the Nassau Grouper, is featured for this fun game. Come watch or play along at home.
We hope you will join us for an online program soon! You can check out all our upcoming online content here.
We are thrilled to have teamed up with Waterlust, an eco-clothing company, to create an invasive lionfish collection as their newest line of advocate apparel. The brand-new lionfish line is available on Waterlust's website and includes leggings, an athletic top, a sun suit, and headband. 10% of profits from the sale of the lionfish collection will be donated to REEF. Waterlust products are extremely high quality and are made from environmentally-conscious materials. These items make wonderful holiday gifts for ocean lovers, divers, snorkelers, and marine conservationists.
Waterlust is a family-owned company whose mission is to inspire a love for our watery world and support the process of scientific discovery that is needed to better understand it. Waterlust has partnered with organizations including Mote Marine Laboratory, Marine Megafauna Foundation, and others, to create unique ocean-themed apparel to raise awareness of ocean conservation.
We recently added a few new products to our online store, including t-shirts and neck gaiters featuring colorful and unique designs that showcase each of of our core programs - the Grouper Moon Project, Invasive Species Program, and Volunteer Fish Survey Project. The new designs are printed on Comfort Colors brand t-shirts, which are soft, cozy, and pre-shrunk. The matching neck gaiters are perfect for protecting your face and neck from the elements during a long day outdoors. We also have bundles including both a shirt and neck gaiter available here.
Our online store also has plenty of holiday gifts perfect for the ocean enthusiast in your life. We carry a wide assortment of marine life ID books and REEF survey materials. You can also symbolically adopt a Conservation Creature stuffed animal, which includes a plush, adoption certificate, sticker, and animal fact sheet. Be sure to check out the clearance section for discounted products.
Please note: while we suggest placing your orders as soon as possible to allow ample time for shipping during the holidays, orders made by Dec. 17 are estimated to arrive before Christmas Day.
REEF is proud to highlight one of our outstanding Conservation Partners: Blue Planet Scuba. REEF Conservation Partners are active organizations and dive shops committed to protecting marine environments worldwide. As valued REEF ambassadors, they serve as centers for marine conservation actions, outreach, and education. You can view the full listing of Conservation Partners or register your organization as a REEF Conservation Partner here.
In what ways do you participate with REEF’s main programs?
Blue Planet Scuba contributes to REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project and teaches fish ID classes. The Tropical Western Atlantic and South Atlantic States ID classes are a regular part of the in-shop classes as well as on trips. Currently, classes are being taught via Zoom. Two REEF Fish ID bingo events held over Zoom were huge hits as well. Each event had nearly thirty people participate, and winners received fish ID books and materials.
What other actions do you take to promote marine conservation?
This year, Blue Planet Scuba began offering regular online seminars covering topics such as marine protected areas, marine debris, and research diving. These sessions are taught by staff members and expert guest speakers. The online World Oceans Day celebration had nearly 100 attendees from all over the world! New marine conservation education programs are currently in the works, including coral identification and marine protected area exploration. Blue Planet Scuba also conducts socially distant monthly Dives Against Debris at an adopted dive site in Annapolis, MD. To support their local Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Blue Planet Scuba also organizes "stream team" cleanups on an adopted section of Rock Creek Park. All debris is documented on the Ocean Conservancy's Clean Swell app as well as manually catalogued for The Rock Creek Conservancy.
How can REEF members get involved with your dive shop/organization?
Blue Planet Scuba loves seeing new faces both in person and online. To get involved in their local efforts in Washington D.C., join a future trip, or attend any online education events, you can like them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram @blueplanetdc, and sign up for their newsletter by visiting their website.
Meet our festive December Fish of the Month, the Peppermint Basslet (Liopropoma rubre!)
Survey Regions: Peppermint Basslets are found throughout REEF's Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA) survey region, which includes the Caribbean, The Bahamas, Florida, and Bermuda. Check out the sightings report for this species for the TWA survey region, where they have been reported in just over 5% of all surveys.
Size: These small members of the Sea Bass family can grow to a maximum of 3.5 inches.
Identifying Features: Peppermint Basslets have bold maroon, pinkish and yellow-gold stripes, with a dark spot on the rear of the dorsal and anal fins. They also have two dark blotches on the outer margin of the tail, which are joined together.
Fun Facts: Although Peppermint Basslets are common, they are rarely sighted by divers due to their shy and reclusive nature. They hide deep within the recesses of caves and crevices and tend to retreat when approached. Patient divers can usually catch a glimpse of them, as they can be curious and may emerge from their hiding spot after a few minutes. It's helpful to have a flashlight when searching for cryptic, crevice-dwelling fishes like the Peppermint Basslet.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month!