REEF Field Survey Trips are led by REEF staff, Board of Trustees, and other dedicated marine life enthusiasts. These individuals are passionate about diving and teaching others about the ocean. Below you can read more about each trip leader.

 Alli Candelmo, Ph.D. |Ned and Anna DeLoach | Tracey Griffin | Paul Humann |
Amy Lee | Madalyn Mussey | Janna Nichols | Christy Pattengill-Semmens and Brice Semmens | Ellie Place

 

Alli Candelmo, Ph.D

Alli is REEF’s Conservation Science Manager. She attended Rutgers University where she obtained a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution, and joined the REEF team in July 2018. She has studied the population dynamics and management strategies of invasive lionfish in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos, working with the local stakeholders and communities on both islands to help improve removal efforts and gain a better understanding of invasive lionfish. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research has examined a number of anthropogenic impacts on coastal ecosystems and early life history finfish, including; toxicants, ocean acidification and increased temperatures. She had the opportunity to collaborate with REEF on the Grouper Moon project in 2016 and 2017 examining survivorship of early life stages of Nassau and Tiger Grouper. She also has experience developing hands-on science activities. She is a strong advocate for conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems, regularly volunteering for local community programs.

 

Ned and Anna DeLoach

Ned is a celebrated marine photographer who has made innumerable contributions to our understanding of the underwater world. Co-author of over nine marine life indentification books and co-founder of Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Ned’s passion for the ocean seems to match his subject in one fundamental way: it knows no bounds. Ned spent his early adult life working as a teacher in Jacksonville, FL, a facet of his life that is still regularly manifested in his work today. He has an undeniable gift for didacticism, which, in combination with his inexhaustible enthusiasm for the marine world and all its inhabitants, makes him a skilled trip leader who makes studying the ocean accessible to people of all ages.

Ned’s extensive work in his field is evident in his contributions to a variety of media. He founded New World Publications in 1972 and published his Diving Guide to Underwater Florida in 1979. In 1985, he assumed the post of editor-in-chief of Ocean Realm magazine. He has written and supplied photos for numerous other literary publications as well, including Alert Diver and Scuba Diving. He has also produced multiple underwater documentaries.

Anna DeLoach is a talented videographer, underwater naturalist, computer scientist, and founder of the blog BlennyWatcher in 2011. She is a zealous traveler and a determined researcher, constantly striving to see even the most obscure species in their natural habitats. Anna is also a member of the Board of Trustees for REEF. She has been a very active contributor to a number of popular literary magazines, having written for Alert Diver, Ocean Realm, and Scuba Diving, among others. In 2004, Anna produced the DVD Sensational Seas, which was hugely successful and led to a sequel. The video she produced for REEF, REEF Fish Identification: A Beginning Course, won a Telly Award. National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, NOAA, and many other reputable organizations have utilized Anna’s exemplary work. In 2011, Anna was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Ned and Anna write a regular column entitled "Critter Hunt" for Scuba Diving. For the past seven years, the pair have been the resident naturalists at Buddy Dive resort in Bonaire teaching fish identification and behaviors.

 

Tracey Griffin

Tracey is a REEF fish expert who loves sharing her passion for marine life. A full time local resident of Cozumel, she has led the REEF Field Survey Trip there for many years. Under Tracey’s leadership the Cozumel Field Survey Trip has become one of REEF’s most popular trips. Having completed more than 1,000 surveys, Tracey is a member of the Golden Hamlet Club. She is part of the Advanced Assessment Team in the Tropical Western Atlantic region, and shares her fish identification expertise in REEF’s Fishinars. Over the years, she has actively participated in of REEF’s projects including the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, Grouper Moon Project, and Invasive Lionfish Program.

 

Paul Humann

In addition to being a celebrated diver and underwater photographer, Paul is the co-founder of Reef Environmental Education Foundation and co-author of ten fish identification field guides. Paul's work has been featured in numerous magazines including Ocean Realm, Sport Diver, and National Geographic and he has been recognized as a leader in the study of fish. Paul’s detailed photographs have been key to positively identifying many species. In fact, many of his photos were the first ever documentation of living species in their natural habitats. Paul’s meticulous work observing, photographing, describing, and categorizing marine species has been incredibly impactful in expanding the general public’s knowledge base.

Paul started diving in the early 1960's. In 1970 he bought and captained the M/V Cayman Diver which is considered the Caribbean’s first successful live-aboard dive boat and thereby helped initiated the live-aboard diving trend that has since ballooned into a mainstream industry. In 1980 Paul moved back to the States to begin his career as an underwater photographer, author and book publisher. Paul has been frequently recognized for his work. He received DEMA’s Reaching Out Award in 2006, was inducted into the International Diving Hall of Fame in 2007, and received the NOGI award in 2009.

 

Amy Lee

As Engagement and Communications Manager, Amy oversees REEF’s Field Survey Trips Program and leads communication efforts. Her role serves as a link between REEF's marine conservation programs, fish surveyors, donors, members, and the general public. She works closely with REEF's leadership and program staff to develop strategies for continued growth while creating high-quality content to facilitate engagement. She regularly teaches Fishinars (REEF-branded webinars about fish identification) and leads REEF Field Survey Trips throughout the Caribbean and Pacific. Amy started with REEF as a Marine Conservation Intern in 2014 and joined the staff in April 2015. Her background in marine science and journalism makes her an excellent steward for the marine environment. A lifelong ocean lover and travel enthusiast, Amy has surveyed throughout the Caribbean, Indo-Pacific, South Pacific, and Tropical Eastern Pacific, as well as the cold waters of New England and the US west coast. In 2019 she received the Wave Makers Award from the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA). Amy is based at the REEF Campus in Key Largo, Florida, where she dives and surveys in her spare time. Outside of REEF, she is a contract writer for Alert Diver magazine, published by Divers Alert Network, and also teaches seasonal marine science education programs for traveling student groups.

 

Madalyn Mussey

Madalyn - more commonly known as "Moose" - is the Education and Outreach Program Manager at REEF. She responsible for planning and executing informal education and training programming. Programs that she oversees include the Ocean Explorers Expeditions, Summer Camp, and Workshops, Invasive Lionfish Collecting & Handling Workshops, and local outreach events. Madalyn is an expert level surveyor for the Tropical Western Atlantic, and has also completed surveys in the Tropical Eastern Pacific region. She first came to REEF in the spring of 2019 as a Marine Conservation Intern and following the end of her internship she quickly transitioned into the Lead Intern for the Invasive Species Program before becoming part of the staff in November 2019. She has had many opportunities to share her interest in conservation through education at SeaWorld Orlando, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the University of Missouri Adventure Club. Managing REEF’s Education and Outreach Programs allows Madalyn to apply her dedication and experience in hands-on conservation education to give those around her an appreciation for the natural world and instill a long-lasting devotion towards marine conservation.

 

Janna Nichols

Janna is REEF's Citizen Science Program Manager, working extensively with the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. She coordinates REEF's social media and was also the creator of REEF's popular Fishinar (webinar) program. Although Janna officially joined REEF staff in 2010, she has been conducting surveys, teaching fish ID classes and giving REEF presentations as a volunteer since 2000, and is based in Vancouver, Washington. Janna is passionate about underwater photography and marine life identification, and many of her photos appear in west coast marine life ID guides, publications, and online resources. Her efforts were integral to the design and photography on REEF's many laminated fish identification cards. She has personally completed over 1,100 REEF surveys and is an expert level REEF surveyor in the Pacific Coast and Tropical Western Atlantic regions. Janna is a PADI certified SCUBA instructor (retired), a past AAUS Scientific Diver and DSO, and the leader of REEF's Pacific Coast Advanced Assessment Team. In 2003, she received REEF's Volunteer of the Year award, in 2013 she received Dive News Network's Diver of the Year Award, and in 2015 she received the Golden Hamlet award from REEF.

 

Christy Pattengill-Semmens and Brice Semmens

Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., has been a member of the REEF family since 1993 and became REEF’s Director of Science in 1998. Her commitment to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project and precise data collection makes her an irreplaceable member of the organization. What is more, Christy has written for numerous notable publications including the Bulletin of Marine Science, the Marine Ecology Progress Series, and Environmental Biology of Fishes. Christy is an authority on fish identification, having completed more than 1,000 surveys in locations around the world. She is an expert-level REEF surveyor in all of REEF's project regions.

Brice Semmens, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Brice’s ongoing research focuses on quantitative ecology. He also is the lead scientist on REEF's Grouper Moon Project. Like his wife Christy, Brice has a keen interest in data collection. He has also studied fisheries management, which gives him a unique perspective to share with those participating in the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Brice has been a REEF member since 1993, has completed nearly 800 surveys, and is an expert-level REEF surveyor in all of REEF's project regions.

 

Ellie Place

Ellie served as Conservation Coordinator for the Volunteer Fish Survey Project (VFSP) from April 2017-October 2019, and remains active with REEF as a volunteer. During her time as a REEF employee, she worked closely with many individuals and partner organizations who participate in the VFSP and Invasive Lionfish Program and helped engage the public with REEF’s citizen science programs by coordinating the Fishinar series. Ellie is an expert level surveyor and member of REEF’s Advanced Assessment Team for the Tropical Western Atlantic region. She has also surveyed in California and the Pacific Northwest, where she is now based. Ellie is a passionate advocate for conserving marine environments and advocates for the protection of marine species and fragile marine environments in her free time.