Join us to learn more marine life during REEF Fest 2021! We have a great lineup of guest speakers including scientists, naturalists, and underwater photographers, as well as fish identification and invasive lionfish workshops taught by our experts.
Seminars and workshops are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested. Click here to register for REEF Fest 2021. Seminars and workshops are held at the Murray Nelson Government Center (102050 Overseas Hwy. Key Largo, FL 33037.) Please see the detailed schedule below for dates and times.
September 20, 2021 UPDATE - Because of travel restrictions between the UK and the US, Dr. Richard Smith will not be able to join us this year. We are grateful that he has committed to joining us at REEF Fest 2022. In order to minimize time indoors, we have modified our seminar schedule. Sarah Fangman from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will be rescheduling her talk to a REEF Fish & Friends in 2022. We appreciate your understanding.
Seminar and Workshop Schedule
Thursday, Oct. 14, 1:00 pm:
Fish Identification Class
REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project engages volunteer divers and snorkelers to collect and report data about ocean life. This program has generated the world's largest database on marine fishes. Join us for a fun, interactive class to learn how to identify some of the fish species found in the Florida Keys. This class will be an excellent refresher for experienced surveyors and a great way for those just starting out to learn their fish ID. Don't forget to book your REEF Fest diving or snorkeling so you can apply your newfound knowledge!
Invasive Lionfish Collecting and Handling Workshop
Invasive lionfish are known for their ornate, flowing fins and venomous spines. As the first non-native marine fish to become established in Atlantic, lionfish pose a significant threat to local marine ecosystems, Early detection and rapid removal can help control their populations and reduce their impact on native fish species. Learn about the history of the lionfish invasion, lionfish biology, ecological impacts, current research, collecting and handling techniques, and what you can do to help, whether you are a diver, snorkeler, or land-based conservationist.
Friday, Oct. 15, 3:30 pm:
Conservation Stories from the Field
Presented by Drs. Alli Candelmo and Christy Pattengill-Semmens, REEF; Dr. Brice Semmens, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and Dr. Scott Heppell, Oregon State University
REEF programs are at the intersection of ocean conservation, applied research, education, and engaging the general public. Our staff and partners are constantly applying innovative conservation technologies in order to address emerging issues in fisheries and marine science. The speakers will share stories of the latest advances in our three core mission-driven programs, the Invasive Species Program, the Grouper Moon Project, and the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, and give specific examples that apply borrowed and/or novel technologies in REEF's conservation science projects.
Friday, Oct. 15, 6:00 pm:
The Heady Hunt for 5000 Fishes
Presented by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach, REEF Co-founders, Marine Life Authors, and Renowned Underwater Photographers
Paul and Ned were on different paths in the scuba industry when a mutual friend introduced them to each other in the mid-1980s. That led to a successful book publishing partnership, starting in 1989 with the publication of Reef Fish Identification - Florida Caribbean Bahamas, and a goal to photograph as many reef fishes as possible. Thirty-five years, 11 books, and many adventures later, their quest continues. Jim Dalle Pazze, one of the founding directors of REEF, interviews Paul and Ned onstage. Beginning with their early careers that set the stage for the publication of their books and founding REEF, they’ll also share some of their most exciting fish encounters from the past three decades
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2:30 pm - REEF Fest 2021 Keynote Seminar:
The Role of Citizen Science in Monitoring and Protecting our Ocean Biodiversity
Presented by Dr. Dan Greenberg, REEF Research Affiliate and Postdoctoral Researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Understanding the state of species, communities, and ecosystems is critical as our human populations continue to expand in number and impacts. Long-term ecological data are crucial to answer this question, but existing data from scientific surveys are limited to a small fraction of well-studied species and regions. We have only a guess at how most ecosystems on Earth are actually faring, and poor management decisions can thrive under this uncertainty. The emergence of broad-scale citizen science programs offers a promising potential solution to this biodiversity data crisis, but whether the inherently "messy" data from these programs are actually useful for monitoring populations remains an outstanding question. Dan will present his work on evaluating population trajectories for species in the Florida Keys based on REEF roving diver surveys and NOAA fish monitoring surveys conducted over the past three decades. He will also show how REEF surveys can provide vital information for evidence-based management decisions, through the case of the changing Atlantic Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara) populations in Florida.
Postponed to 2022
Wonders of the Ocean: The World Beneath
Presented by Dr. Richard Smith, Underwater Photographer, Author, and Marine Conservationist
Richard’s richly illustrated talk investigates the smaller, often overlooked animals that inhabit coral reefs. From his PhD research on the biology and conservation of pygmy seahorses, fishes so small they barely stretch across a five pence piece, to other cryptic and diminutive habitat specialists that are being discovered regularly thanks to recreational divers. During our journey through the Coral Triangle, we will encounter many newly discovered fishes, parasites and unusual reef creatures and how their discoveries have come about. However, as the oceans change, the habitats these animals depend upon are becoming ever more uncertain.
Shaping the Future of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - and How You Can Help
Presented by Sarah Fangman, Superintendent of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Sarah will talk about a number of initiatives underway in the sanctuary to address numerous challenges facing the marine environment of the Florida Keys. These include proposed regulatory and zone changes, as well as efforts to address water quality, increase awareness and improve enforcement in the sanctuary. The talk will also highlight work as part of the "Mission: Iconic Reefs" effort - an ambitious restoration plan to restore seven sites in the Florida Keys. Remarks will highlight ways that the community has been, and can continue to work with the sanctuary to protect the marine environment that we all value here in the Keys.