Dive into the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest with REEF in the SeaDoc Society's latest episode of Salish Sea Wild, The Natural History of the Fish Geek. The episode is a lighthearted take on SeaDoc's citizen science partnership with REEF to support the Volunteer Fish Survey Project.
REEF Citizen Science Project Manager Janna Nichols and SeaDoc Society's Science Director Dr. Joe "Fish Geek" Gaydos, an expert level REEF surveyor, buddied up for an underwater survey of fish and invertebrates found in the region. The video was filmed, written and produced by Bob "Attenborough" Friel.
Salish Sea Wild is a YouTube channel that features the Natural History of the Salish Sea. Science-based, adventure-oriented, and fun, episodes range from 5-11 minutes and are suitable for kids of all ages. For the complete series, see YouTube or visit www.salishseawild.org.
The SeaDoc Society is one of REEF's longstanding partners and is a part of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Their mission is to ensure the health of marine wildlife and their ecosystems through science and education. They've facilitated the funding for the annual REEF Adavanced Assessment Team (AAT) monitoring in the San Juan Islands for years, and have recently supported AAT projects in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia. They've also been a part of the data analysis and papers pertaining to the sea star wasting disease on the Pacific coast.
Thanks SeaDoc for the fantastic, fishy fun video. Be sure to watch all the way to the end - past the credits - for a fun bonus!
We’re excited to introduce our Summer 2020 Marine Conservation Interns. These individuals will support the REEF team by assisting with our marine conservation programs and operations at REEF Headquarters. This semester’s interns bring a unique set of skills and interests to REEF. They include:
Stephanie Letourneau: Stephanie is from Frederick, Maryland.She earned a B.S. in environmental science from Juniata College. Her passion for science education began when she was an environmental education intern at the Audubon Naturalist Society. She has also interned at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researched habitat quality and biotic health in streams in central Pennsylvania, and participated in a residential semester on Raystown Lake at Juniata’s Field Station, studying aquatic ecology. Stephanie also studied marine ecology during a semester abroad in the Galapagos Islands. Additionally, she completed an internship at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, where she created educational resources for teachers based on marsh stewardship research. Stephanie's goal is to pursue a career that allows her to connect society with local ecosystems. She is excited to work with REEF to gain more experience in marine outreach and conservation, and advance her scuba diving skills.
Natasha McCluhan: Natasha is studying marine science and coastal management at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She volunteered at the Georgia Aquarium in high school and eventually completed an internship with the Aquarium's dive operations department. Afterwards, she traveled to Melbourne, Australia, for a summer where she interned for an environmental nonprofit called Earthwatch. She has also worked as a camp counselor at SeaWorld Orlando, where she got the opportunity to connect kids to the oceans by showcasing animal ambassadors. Natasha recently she took a trip abroad with Eckerd College to explore Cuba’s Gardens of the Queens marine protected park where she participated in fish surveys while gaining experience in underwater photography. Natasha is particularly interested in marine conservation management, including issues like the shark fin trade, sustainable fisheries, and the establishment of marine protected areas, and she hopes to channel these passions during her internship with REEF.
Emily Wheat: Emily is from Amelia Island, Florida. She graduated from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in marine biology and is currently pursuring a Masters of Professional Science at the University of Miami. While in college, she participated in a project to test the effects of herbicides on phytoplankton. After graduation, Emily worked as an on-board marine biologist for an ecotourism company, field instructor for a marine biology camp for children in grades 3-12. These opportunities helped Emily realize her passion to educate those around her about the marine environment. In graduate school, Emily has learned about topics including shark ecology and conservation, marine conservation outreach, and geographic information systems. After graduation she wants to continue working in the outreach realm, focusing her efforts on educating children and promoting outdoor and hands-on learning, and hopes to incorporate her love of scuba diving into the work she does. Emily is excited to intern with REEF and continue blending her passion of diving with educating others about the wonders of the ocean.
Our interns are a vital part of REEF and we couldn’t accomplish our work without them! For more information about the Marine Conservation Internship or to apply for an upcoming semester, visit www.REEF.org/internship.
In February, eighteen REEF members traveled to Fiji on a REEF Field Survey Trip. The survey results from this trip were recently processed into REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project database which contains more than 250,000 total surveys. During the Fiji Field Survey Trip, the group conducted 210 surveys at 29 sites and recorded 617 different species. You can view the full species report for the Fiji Field Survey here.
The trip consisted of 10 nights on the NAI'A liveboard, known for its fantastic and professional crew, many of whom are Fijians themselves. Throughout the trip, the group dived the Fijian islands and barrier reefs near Vatu-i-ra in Bligh Water and Namena, Wakaya, and Gau in the Koro Sea. The famous dive site Nigali Passage, known to attract huge schools of barracuda, jacks, and sharks, was a hit with the group. Surveyors enjoyed exploring the shallow coral gardens at the end of the passage as well. Jungle Jig was another favorite dive site beause of its high species diversity and variety of habitats. The site consisted of a sloping reef system facing open water and a separate, deep pinnacle within swimming distance from the reef. Surveyors found several interesting species on the pinnacle including Black-breasted Pipefish and Yellow Pygmy Angelfish.
A very special thank you our NAI'A partners for being wonderful hosts for our trip. We also want to thank everyone who participated and all of the citizen scientist volunteers who conducted surveys on their dives. Did you know that REEF creates "batch reports" for all of our Field Survey Trips as well as some other special projects? You can search for and view reports for past Field Survey Trips and other projects here. Click here for more information about REEF Field Survey Trips and how you can get involved in Volunteer Fish Survey Project.
The REEF Campus in Key Largo, Florida, remains closed to the public and all in-person programming is suspended until further notice, but that hasn’t slowed down our Ocean Explorers Programs. Over the last several months, our Education and Outreach team has remained focused on REEF's mission to engage and inspire the public. We recently made the difficult decision to suspend Ocean Explorers Summer Camp for 2020, but we are currently working to produce single day Explorers Programs for local families. More details on these programs will be posted on our website later this summer.
Although our in-person programs are temporarily on hold, staff and interns have engaged virtually with organizations and student groups across the country. By conducting education presentations online and offering virtual activities like Fish Jeopardy, we have been able to stay connected with our members while practicing social distancing. We have also updated existing Ocean Explorers programs and created new curriculum and activities. We look forward to continuing to engage the community in marine conservation through education and outreach, and we are excited for what the future holds for our Ocean Explorers Programs.
Since 1993, more than 150 young adults have interned with REEF and transitioned into careers all over the world, in the marine conservation field and beyond. We have created a webpage to help former interns stay connected, both with REEF and the broad network of REEF Intern Alumni. You can check out the REEF Intern Alumni Network page here.
Marine Conservation Interns and Lead Interns play an integral role in our daily operations, programs, events, and outreach. REEF Intern Alumni have a special place in the organization, and we want to ensure that interns are able to remain engaged with REEF for years to come. Marine Conservation Interns have gone on to work with govenment agencies, non-profits, educational and academic institutions, and more. If you are a former Marine Conservation Intern, we would love to hear from you and share your accomplishments. Please contact david@REEF.org to get in touch.
Our next Fishinar will be a special one! On Tuesday, June 16, at 8pm EDT, Alli Candelmo, Ph.D., REEF Conservation Science Manager, will be giving an update on current research findings for the invasive lionfish problem in the Tropical Western Atlantic waters. Click here to register for this Fishinar - you can tune in using a laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone.
Fishinars are free webinars that will teach you the finer points of fish ID. These educational sessions are open to all; from divers and snorkelers, to anyone wanting to know more about the ocean’s inhabitants. They are great for first-time REEF surveyors or anyone who wants to review.
We record all Fishinars and make them available online, so if you are unable to join us, you can view it later on. With more than 190 sessions to choose from, you can find one for every ocean region and every level of experience. Please visit this page for the complete archive.
This summer, REEF members are invited to participate in our 2020 underwater photography contest! Categories include fish portrait, macro, invertebrates, REEF-themed, and reefscape/habitat. Members may submit up to three photos in each category.
The contest will begin on June 8, World Oceans Day, and photos can be submitted until noon EDT on July 31. Photos will be judged using a popular vote, beginning on August 1. Winning photos will be featured on REEF’s website, social media and other communications channels. For complete details including rules and policies, visit www.REEF.org/photocontest. Questions and submissions may be emailed to photocontest@REEF.org.
This month, REEF is proud to highlight one of our outstanding Conservation Partners: Eugene Skin Divers Supply located in Eugene, Oregon. REEF Conservation Partners are active organizations and dive shops dedicated to protecting marine environments. As valued REEF ambassadors, they teach fish ID classes, host survey dives, organize volunteer events and more. You can see the full listing of Conservation Partners or register your business or organization as a REEF Conservation Partner here: www.REEF.org/conservation-partners.
We're proud to have a fantastic, conservation-minded partner like Eugene Skin Divers Supply. To learn more, check out our Q&A below!
In what ways do you participate with REEF’s main programs?
Eugene Skin Divers Supply teaches multiple fish ID and invertebrate ID classes for several regions. We also encourage our local dive club to show Fishinars.
What other actions do you take to promote marine conservation?
Eugene Skin Divers Supply encourages our divers to complete REEF surveys. We share information about REEF to all of our classes. During Advanced classes we have divers complete REEF surveys during the course.
How can REEF members get involved with Eugene Skin Divers Supply?
REEF members can get involved by joining us on trips (surveys are completed on most trips), stop by for information about upcoming REEF dives, attend Eugene Dive Club meetings or contact us on Facebook.
REEF Experience Levels are a way for divers and snorkelers to measure their fish ID knowledge along with their surveying experience. With 5 levels in each of REEF's survey regions, divers are able to look forward to the next step and continually improve their skills. From brand new beginners up to the top Level 5 experience level, you'll find plenty of resources and friends to help you along the way.
Let's hear it for these REEF members who have improved and moved up a level this month!
South Pacific Region (SOP)
Kara Curry - Level 5
Tropical Western Atlantic Region (TWA)
Daryl Duda - Level 5
Congratulations to the both of you, and we look forward to your data contributions to our Volunteer Fish Survey Project!
Meet our June Fish of the Month, the Spotted Ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei)!
Survey Regions: Spotted Ratfish are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, throughout Alaska, British Columbia to southern Califorina, and as far south as central Baja. This area includes REEF's Pacific Coast (PAC) and Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) survey regions. Size: They can be 8-28 inches long and grow to a maximum of 38 inches. Identifying Features: Spotted Ratfish are brown or gray with iridescent tints of blue, green, or gold. They have characteristic white spots all over their body and a large, flattened snout. Fun Facts: Spotted Ratfish are members of the Shortnose Chimera family. As cartilaginous fish, they are related to sharks and rays. Their first dorsal spine is venomous. Female Spotted Ratfish lay spoon-shaped egg cases in muddy or sandy areas.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the July issue of e-News to see our next Fish of the Month!