Last year, REEF launched a new monitoring project called the Species Snapshot. The goal of this project is to monitor Florida's coastline by gathering baseline data on under-surveyed areas and alternative habitats.
During each Species Snapshot Project session, a team of Expert Level REEF surveyors conduct fish surveys at a collection of sites to capture the breadth of fish biodiversity in the area. This data will help us monitor changes in fish populations over time and identify biodiversity hotspots. Collecting these data with a team of experienced surveyors allows us to take a “biological snapshot” of each area.
In the project's first year, data were collected from north Key Largo to Biscayne National Park, as well as Miami. This year, our team collected more data from the Miami area in April, where they documented 175 species. Another round of data collection occurred in June in Fort Lauderdale, where the team recorded 214 species, including some unique finds like the Orangeback Bass and Spotted Soapfish. You can view the reports from the Miami project here, and Ft. Lauderdale here. More Species Snapshot Project sessions will be scheduled for 2023, to continue surveying other parts of Florida's coast.
Members who achieve Expert status (Levels 4 and 5) in a given region are invited to join the REEF Advanced Assessment Team (AAT). AAT members may be invited to participate in special regional monitoring and assessment projects, such as the Species Snapshot Project. Click here to view current and past AAT monitoring projects.