Happy New Year! We hope that all of our members had a joyous holiday season. In this first edition of REEF-in-Brief 2009 we bring you news that everyone knew was just a matter of time -- the invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish has been confirmed in the Florida Keys. Thanks to her experience as a REEF fishwatcher and the numerous outreach stories that REEF has issued to our members, REEF surveyor Becky Fowler knew just what she was looking at last week while diving during her vacation off Key Largo, Florida. Because of her careful field observations and quick reporting to REEF staff, a Rapid Response team was mobilized and the offending fish was removed from the reef within 24 hours.

There are many opportunities in 2009 to take a trip that counts with REEF. In addition to our exciting Field Survey schedule to destinations such as Bermuda and St. Lucia, Peter Hughes is hosting a Lionfish Research cruise in Belize aboard the Sun Dancer II Liveaboard. Be sure to check out the schedule.

And finally, we would like to thank all of you who have donated to REEF during our Winter fundraising campaign. If you haven't donated yet, please consider sending your gift today. A limited number of Paul Humann prints are left. This stunning image of a male yellowhead jawfish is sent in appreciation for any member who gives $250 or more. Donate securely online today!

Best Wishes,