REEF Marine Life Identification Classroom Teaching Modules


These instructor-led courses are a great way to introduce divers and snorkelers to the variety of marine life that can be seen during their time in the water. Each module includes:

- Easy-to-use teaching curriculum to train students in identification and REEF survey methodology, includes description of 50-70 of the most common species in the area. An outline of the curriculum is given below.

Two options for Curriculum Format: Binder -- printed curriculum comes in a handy binder, or, Paperless -- curriculum file is included on a USB drive ($5 discount)

- USB drive with the image-based slideshow needed to teach the course (corresponds with the printed curriculum), as well as class handouts and a knowledge-review quiz. *note -- the slideshow is currently only PC-compatable, we are working on a Mac-compatable version.

- Sample starter kit, which includes everything needed to get started with conducting REEF surveys (survey slate, uw survey paper, color ID card, and instructions.

A general outline of each course includes:

1. Introduction to REEF surveying and participation in the Volunteer Fish Survey Project

2. List of materials needed by instructor and participants, reference guide list.

3. Teaching the course. Tips for the instructor, scientific and common names

4. Orientation to REEF Experience Levels and quizzes

5. Course objectives

6. Slides of each species taught (the main bulk of the course)

7. Overview of the Roving Diver Technique, how to conduct a REEF survey

8. Methods for data entry

9. Level 2 Quiz

Courses are intended to be taught in approximately 2-3 hours.


Tropical Western Atlantic Fishes (TWA; Caribbean & Florida)

South Atlantic States Fishes (SAS; Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina)

South Atlantic States Invertebrates & Algae (SAS; Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina)

Northeast Fishes (NE: Virginia - Newfoundland, incl. Gulf of Maine) 

Northeast Invertebrate & Algae Identification (NE: Virginia - Newfoundland, incl. Gulf of Maine) 

California Fishes (includes three sub-courses, geographically divided into Southern California, the Channel Islands, and the Central Coast)

California Invertebrates & Algae

Pacific Northwest Fishes

Pacific Northwest Invertebrates & Algae

Tropical Eastern Pacific Fishes (incl. Baja/Sea of Cortez to Galapagos Isl.)

Hawaii Fishes

South Pacific Fishes (incl. Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia, the Line Islands, and the Cook Islands)

Samoan Archipelago Fishes (incl. American Samoa and Samoa)


**The image slideshow is currently only available in PC-compatible. It does work well running under Parallels on a Mac.

Students taught by PADI instructors can apply for a fish identification specialty.

In addition to these instructor-led courses, REEF has adapted the popular classroom identification course into a home study DVD package aimed at beginning fishwatchers in the tropical Atlantic. Reef Fish Identification – A Beginning Course teaches the basics of fishwatching, including identification of 50 commonly sighted species found in Florida and the Caribbean. This product is available here.