Author: Madalyn Mussey, Education and Outreach Program Manager
Education and engagement are essential for marine conservation success, and REEF Ocean Explorers Education Programs bring oceans to life through online and in-person learning. Our programs include hands-on lessons and activities to teach participants of all ages and backgrounds about citizen science, ocean life, marine ecology and habitats, and most importantly, how each of us can make a difference! We're proud to share some stats from the Ocean Explorers Education Program in 2022.
• 34 education sessions provided at no cost to participants, with support from the Oceans for All Fund. Programs included 16 in-person Discovery Programs, 10 virtual Discovery Programs, and 8 live Virtual Field Trip sessions.
• 6 multi-day Expeditions, including a weeklong program in Kona, HI with The Road Less Traveled.
• 70 in-person Discovery Programs taught in the Upper Florida Keys. More than half of these programs were hosted at the REEF Campus in Key Largo.
• 18 online programs for students in grades 3-12, including both Virtual Field Trips and Virtual Case Studies.
• 26 organizations or schools served, including both local and out-of-state groups such as Therapeutic Scuba Institute’s Camp Open SEAS, The Hammock House at St. Columbia Episcopal Church, Road Scholars, Westcoast Connection, The Road Less Traveled, Community School of Naples, Diving with a Purpose, Phelps Center for Gifted Education, North Stewart Elementary, Coral Shores High School, Ocean Studies Charter School, Plantation Key School, Key Largo School, and the Key Largo Public Library.
• Nearly 2,000 individuals engaged, from elementary school students to senior citizens.
Ocean Explorers Education Programs create opportunities for the next generation of stewards to lead positive change for marine environments, and form a conservation community. We work directly with groups to tailor each program to their unique needs and interests, creating a life-changing experience and helping people build connections with nature. If you or someone you know is interested in planning a program, check out www.REEF.org/explorers, or email explorers@REEF.org to start your adventure. You can also click here to sign up to join the email list and receive updates about education programs.
Author: The REEF Team
This winter, you can share holiday cheer and hope for the oceans by supporting marine conservation! When you donate to REEF, you give a gift that impacts our future and our planet. With the support and dedication of people like you, REEF is using science, education, and research to protect the oceans, and inspiring countless individuals to take action for ocean conservation. We're so thankful to all who have given generously this season. If you have not yet made a gift, please consider donating to REEF today. Your year-end contribution will help us start the new year on a strong note.
As a special thank you, when you give $250 or more this winter, you will receive a signed copy of a limited edition marine life image from REEF Co-Founder Paul Humann. Each year Paul chooses a photo from his personal library, and this year's image is a Crosshatch Triggerfish, photographed in the Galapagos Islands. Visit www.REEF.org/donate to make a gift today. From all of us at REEF, have a wonderful holiday season, and thank you for your support!
Author: Stacey Henderson, Program Services Coordinator
Want to make a difference on your next dive trip? Join a REEF Field Survey Trip to participate in meaningful conservation work, learn about marine life, and have fun with friends. We have a year-round schedule of trips to fantastic dive locations all over the world. Several 2023 trips are already sold out, but we still have limited space remaining on a few REEF Field Survey Trips next year. Below are some upcoming trips with availability. Spaces are filling quickly, so if you'd like to join a Dive Vacation That Counts, we suggest signing up as soon as possible to secure your space. Contact trips@REEF.org to register, and visit www.REEF.org/trips for more details. We hope to see you on a REEF Trip in 2023!
Fiji: March 18-28 -- 3 spaces remaining! More information here.
Saba: April 22-29 -- More information here.
Solomon Islands: May 6-16 -- 1 space remaining! More information here.
Cayman Brac: May 20-27 -- More information here.
Red Sea: July 6-16 -- More information here.
Roatan: July 15-22 -- More information here.
Author: Amy Lee, Communications and Engagement Manager
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 Annette Felix. She has been a REEF member since 2006, and is an avid surveyor. She has conducted 465 total surveys in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and Hawaii regions. As a member of the Guardian Club, Annette supports REEF as a monthly donor. Here's what she had to say about her involvement with REEF:
"When I started doing surveys, at first I didn’t know how the data was used, but I enjoyed focusing in on the fish in an area. As time went by, I joined REEF Field Survey Trips, where I met fellow fish surveyors from all over the country. Events like REEF by the Sea share how REEF makes an impact on ocean conservation, education and research with attendees. Attending these events also reunites me with REEF friends I have met along the way.
I became a Guardian Club donor for two reasons. The first is because, as a member of REEF, I felt it was important to support the programs they provide and I take part in. The second is I don’t have to remember to send a donation every year, it is done automatically! I feel honored to be part of REEF, helping to protect our oceans - one survey at a time!"
REEF Guardians provide ongoing support for our programs to study and protect the oceans. As a REEF Guardian, you can make a difference every day in our marine conservation work. REEF Guardians receive invitations to special events, plus a stunning photo of a Flasher Wrasse photographed by REEF Co-Founder Ned DeLoach. Click here for more information or set up a monthly recurring donation and become a REEF Guardian.
Author: Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., Co-Executive Director: Science & Engagement
We are heartbroken to share the news that beloved REEF member, Cassandra Neal, passed away unexpectedly last month. Her kindness, laughter, and passion for the oceans will be greatly missed by many.
Cassandra was a kindergarten teacher in Long Island, NY. Following her retirement in 2006, she and her late husband Franklin, also an avid REEF surveyor, relocated from New York to Bonaire. From then on there was no stopping them: they spent their time diving, traveling, visiting family and friends, and enjoying life and one another. Both made significant contributions to the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project as citizen scientists. Cassandra and Franklin both conducted 1,000+ REEF surveys and became members of the Golden Hamlet Club! They were regular participants on REEF Field Survey Trips, and also attended a REEF Expedition to the Azores to assist with expanding the project to the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean region. Cassandra conducted 379 REEF surveys in 2020 - the most of any REEF member than year! In March 2021, Scuba Diving magazine highlighted her for this amazing achievement. You can read the article here.
Cassandra’s daughter Carrie proposed that in celebration of Cassandra’s life, you may wish to buy books for your local library, spend time volunteering for your favorite charity, join a garden club, or donate to REEF.
Author: Sierra Barkdoll, Citizen Science Coordinator
If you have any REEF surveys that you haven't yet entered, now is the perfect time to submit them. The marine life information collected by REEF volunteers is an extremely useful tool used by scientists and researchers protect our oceans. Each survey can help make a difference in the health of the ocean - but these data must be submitted to the REEF database to make an impact! You can start 2023 with a clean slate (pun intended) by entering all your surveys before the year ends. If you conduct and enter at least 25 surveys in 2022, you are eligible to receive a special Conservation Challenge sticker. If you have already submitted 25 surveys, visit www.REEF.org/conservationchallenge to claim your exclusive sticker. Stay tuned for updates on the Conservation Challenge, coming in 2023.
Pro tip: Your REEF surveys do not expire! That means it is never too late to submit your survey data, no matter how old your surveys may be.
Author: Janna Nichols, Citizen Science Program Manager
As a REEF member, you can access a complete list of all fish species found in any of REEF's ten survey regions. Each list shows both the common name used in REEF database, as well as the scientific name for all species in a given region. This is helpful in areas where common names are not standardized. To find the common name used in the REEF database, simply search for a species using the scientific name, and you'll be able to see the common name used in the REEF database.
You can sort the lists alphabetically by clicking on the column header name. You can also sort by family name if you're interested in focusing on a specific fish family. For example, you can use this option to view all of the angelfish species found in the South Pacific region!
In temperate water regions, including the Pacific Coast (PAC), South Atlantic States (SAS), Northeast US & Canada (NE), and Eastern Atlantic & Mediterranean (EAM) regions, you will also see the select list of invertebrates and algae that are surveyed, in addition to fish.
We encourage you to give this a try, and see what you discover! To access this feature, go to the Programs tab on our website. Under Volunteer Fish Survey Project, click on "Explore Database - Create Reports" and then click on "Species Reference Lists" - or click on the direct links below!
Species Reference Lists
Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA) Names Report
South Atlantic States (SAS) Names Report
NE US & Canada (NE) Names Report
Eastern Atlantic & Mediterranean (EAM) Names Report
Pacific Coast of the United States & Canada (PAC) Names Report
Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) Names Report
Hawaiian Islands (HAW) Names Report
South Pacific (SOP) Names Report
Central Indo - Pacific (CIP) Names Report
Indian Ocean - Red Sea (IORS) Names Report
Author: Sierra Barkdoll, Citizen Science Coordinator
Our online programs are free and open to all! Check out what's coming up, and view the entire 2023 schedule of Fishinars and other online programs here.
Into the Blue Book Club
Thursday. January 19, 8pm EST
Click here to register.
We're kicking off the new year with a great read—The Sound of the Sea by acclaimed environmentalist Cynthia Barnett. Learn about the cultural and natural history of sea shells and the hidden lives of molluscs. Cynthia Barnett will be joining our meeting for a Q&A session!
Fishinar: Exploring Salish Sea Diversity in Hood Canal
Tuesday, January 24, 8pm EST
Click here to register.
Why is the Hood Canal so different from the rest of Puget Sound? Dr. Gregory Jensen, marine life author and photographer, will teach us the diverse species and habitats of Hood Canal and the possible reasons for why this Salish Sea dive spot and its inhabitants are so unique.
Fishy Hour: Drawing Fish for Fun Workshop
Thursday, January 26, 8pm EST
Click here to register.
Maui-based professional artist Maggie Sutrov will lead a beginner-friendly workshop about how to draw some of our favorite fishes. This class is for anyone - no artistic experience needed!
Author: The REEF Team
Deck the halls for our December Fish of the Month, the Treefish, Sebastes serriceps!
Survey Regions: Treefish are found in the northeast Pacific Ocean, from northern California to Baja California, Mexico. They are most common in the California (CAL/PAC) REEF survey region, although they can be found in the northern end of the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) region as well. You can view sightings reports for this species here: PAC region and here: TEP region. In addition, click here to see a sightings report for young of the year (aka YOY, meaning less than one year of age) Treefish.
Size: They grow to about 16 inches long.
Identifying Features: Treefish have a yellow body with five to six dark bars, and bright pink, red, or orange lips. Juvenile Treefish are bright yellow with black bars and markings and large, fluttery fins with white or blue margins.
Fun Facts: Treefish are rockfish, which are members of the scorpionfish family. Like other scorpionfish species, they have venomous spines. The species name, serriceps, means “saw head” in Latin, because the spines on their head resemble a saw. Treefish are most active in the evening, and can be found in crevices, caverns, or hiding among rocks.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month.
Photo by Janna Nichols.