Since the organization's earliest days, a key aspect of REEF's success has been strategic partnerships with academia, government agencies, and other non-profits. REEF has a long history of collaboration with the scientific community, starting in the early 1990s when REEF's founders worked with researchers from University of Miami, NOAA, and The Nature Conservancy to determine the best protocols for the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. There are currently four students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego who are working with REEF on various data projects. Below is a brief overview of their efforts.

Cameron VanHorn is currently working towards a B.S./M.S., and for his thesis is working with the passive acoustic data from the Grouper Moon Project to characterize the seasonal patterns in courtship-associated sounds at spawning sites throughout the Cayman Islands. Jordan DiNardo, a Ph.D. student, is using Volunteer Fish Survey Project data from throughout the Caribbean to explore patterns in co-occurrence and relative abundance of common parrotfish species. Charles Hendrikson, an Undergraduate Research Fellow, spent the summer analyzing changes in the size frequency of aggregating Nassau Grouper on Little Cayman within a single spawning season, using data collected by the Grouper Moon team. Lastly, Dr. Dan Greenberg, a postdoc, is comparing Volunteer Fish Survey Project data species data in the Caribbean with a long-term NOAA statistical survey of the Florida Keys. The effort aims to better understand the relative performance of both methods in tracking the "true" abundance of species through time. 

REEF's Co-Executive Director, Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens, and her husband and Grouper Moon Project lead scientist, Dr. Brice Semmens, are based in San Diego, where Brice is an Asssociate Professor at Scripps and Christy maintains a Visiting Scholar position there.