No dates currently planned. Please inquire with Ellie Splain at ellie@REEF.org for questions.


Spend a week learning marine life survey techniques with REEF experts in Key Largo, Florida. Build your skills and resume for marine field research and discover career opportunities in the marine and conservation field. The course covers reef fish identification for the Tropical Western Atlantic and common tools and techniques used in visual assessments of reef fishes.

Program Curriculum: 

- Tropical Western Atlantic Fish Identification - learn how to identify and remember key Florida and Caribbean reef fish taxa 

- Survey Methodologies - learn the tools, techniques, and methodologies for conducting: 

  • Roving Diver Surveys
  • Transect Surveys
  • Stationary Visual Surveys
  • Benthic Photo and Rugosity Surveys

- Data Entry and Management - learn how to manage and enter data into commonly used management programs


Requirements: Participants must be at least 18 years old and enrolled in or a recent graduate of a college level program in a related field; scuba certified, comfortable and current in their diving skills; physically and mentally capable of carrying out underwater data gathering, and handling of light equipment from small boats.

2017 Course Fee: $945 per person

What is Included: Course fee includes 7 nights of accommodations in a dormitory style setting, 6 days of 2-tank boat dives including use of tanks and weights, REEF Fish Identification Survey materials, and Certificate of Participation upon successful completion of the program.

What are Participants Responsible For: Participants are responsible for providing dive equipment excluding tanks and weights (rental gear available from dive shop), all meals, and transportation. Accommodations include a full kitchen and refrigerator. Accommodations are within walking distance of many bayside restaurants, the perfect location for a delicious meal and a sunset view. 

Participants should fly into Miami International Airport (MIA) or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). From there, participants may rent a car and drive to Key Largo (both airports are less than two hours from Islamorada) via the Florida Turnpike and U.S. 1. Alternatively, participants may choose to ride the Florida Keys Shuttle from either airport. A rental car will not be needed during the field course, as the accommodations are located at the dive facility. 

Considerations: This is an inexpensive, fun, and educational course that will benefit any student that may be involved in reef fish data collection in the field. This course is not a college credit course (though some students may want to apply for credit from their home institution). Students will gain a strong understanding of field survey tools and techniques applicable to field work throughout their careers.