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.

  | Ned and Anna DeLoach | Christy Pattengill-Semmens and Brice Semmens | Martha Klitzkie | Sierra BarkdollAlli Candelmo |

Tracey Griffin Stacey Henderson | Amy Lee | Madalyn "Moose" Mussey | Janna Nichols | Hilary Penner


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 identification 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.

Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D. and Brice Semmens, Ph.D.

Christy Pattengill-Semmens has been a member of the REEF family since 1993. She served as REEF’s Director of Science from 1998-2019 and now serves as Co-Executive Director of Science and Engagement. Her commitment to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project and precise data collection make her an irreplaceable member of the organization. Christy was inducted into the Women's Diver Hall of Fame in 2020. She 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 and has overseen the worldwide expansion of the Volunteer Fish Survey Project.

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. Together with Christy, Brice was named a Sea Hero in 2018.

Martha Klitzkie

Martha is REEF's Co-Executive Director of Strategy and Operations. Prior to joining the REEF staff team in 2011, Martha’s passion for teaching people about the oceans grew over ten years of leading residential marine science programs. She’s passionate about connecting people with the marine environment and building a sense of community amongst ocean enthusiasts. Martha’s undergraduate degree focused on environmental education, and her master’s was in Educational Leadership and Administration. She is enthusiastic about expanding REEF’s impact and reach to create a future where healthy oceans thrive. She believes it’s the little things that change the world and that small individual actions can have big impacts—like how a single fish survey adds up to the world’s largest marine sighting database.

Sierra Barkdoll

Sierra Barkdoll is REEF’s Citizen Science Coordinator. She joined the REEF team in 2022. Sierra grew up right outside of Baltimore, Maryland, where she was minutes away from the Chesapeake Bay. While spending many activities on the bay, Sierra developed a love for nature and aquatic environments. In the spring of 2020, she graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Geography. Before becoming REEF staff, Sierra started as a Marine Conservation Intern in the spring of 2021 and as a Citizen Science Lead Intern in the summer of 2021. Sierra enjoys getting people excited about fish and marine conservation. By working closely with the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, Sierra hopes to instill excitement for marine environments in others.

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 the early life history of 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 the 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 the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems, regularly volunteering for local community programs.

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.

Stacey Henderson

Stacey is REEF’s Program Services Coordinator. He grew up in a small town in Vermont and graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2015 earning a BA in Biology. Stacey first joined REEF as a Marine Conservation Intern in the summer of 2019 and stayed on after as the Volunteer Fish Survey Project Lead Intern. Stacey was very excited to become part of the staff team in April 2020. Before joining REEF, Stacey worked as a PADI dive instructor in Honduras and in the Central Indo-Pacific. He taught his students the importance of marine conservation while introducing them to the underwater world. He now works in support of REEF’s surveyors, donors, members, and the general public through the management of business operations and support of marine conservation programming. He is enthusiastic about REEF and the future of its programs! He is an avid diver, surveyor, and underwater photographer.

Amy Lee

Amy got her start with REEF as a Marine Conservation Intern in 2014, and joined the staff in 2015 as the Trips Program Manager. In her current role as Engagement and Communications Manager, she oversees REEF's communication and outreach efforts. She has more than ten years of communications experience and has also spent several years teaching virtual and in person marine science lessons for school groups. Amy graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in public relations and journalism in 2012, followed by a B.S. in marine science in 2014. She is currently completing an M.Sc. in science communication and public engagement. Amy has surveyed extensively throughout REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project regions, and loves sharing her fish knowledge with others by instructing Fishinars and leading REEF Trips in destinations all over the world. Her writing and underwater photography has appeared in numerous publications including Alert Diver and Earth is Blue. In 2019 she received the Wave Makers Award from the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA). When she isn’t underwater searching for the latest fish to add to her life list, she can be found reading or exploring with her dog, Pinecone.

Madalyn "Moose" Mussey

Madalyn - more commonly known as "Moose" - is the Education Manager: Ocean Explorers Programs at REEF. She is responsible for planning and executing informal education and training programming. Programs that she oversees include the Ocean Explorers Expeditions, Discovery Programs, 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 and Hawaii regions. She first came to REEF in the spring of 2019 as a Marine Conservation Intern. Following the end of her internship, she transitioned into the Lead Intern position in 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 of REEF's many laminated fish identification cards. She has personally completed over 1,100 REEF surveys and is a REEF expert-level surveyor in the Pacific Northwest, California, Hawaii, Northeast US & Canada, South Atlantic States 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.

Hilary Penner

Hilary Penner is the Education and Conservation Programs Manager, working to develop new community partnerships, create new youth learning opportunities, and engage members to support REEF's ocean conservation mission. She started an ocean education business before teaching middle school science for seven years. She has a M.ED in Environmental Education from Florida Atlantic University and a STEM Leadership Graduate Certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University/US Satellite Laboratory. Hilary joined the staff in 2021 after being involved with REEF for over two decades as a volunteer.