Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 81, Issue 1–3, pp 43–50 | Cite as

Conservation and Management Applications of the Reef Volunteer Fish Monitoring Program

  • Christy V. Pattengill-Semmens
  • Brice X. Semmens
Article

Abstract

The REEF Fish Survey Project is a volunteer fish monitoring program developed by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). REEF volunteers collect fish distribution and abundance data using a standardized visual method during regular diving and snorkeling activities. Survey data are recorded on preprinted data sheets that are returned to REEF and optically digitized. Data are housed in a publicly accessible database on REEF's Web site (http: //www.reef.org). Since the project's inception in 1993, over 40,000 surveys have been conducted in the coastal waters of North America, tropical western Atlantic, Gulf of California and Hawaii. The Fish Survey Project has been incorporated into existing monitoring programs through partnerships with government agencies, scientists, conservation organizations, and private institutions. REEF's partners benefit from the educational value and increased stewardship resulting from volunteer data collection. Applications of the data include an evaluation of fish/habitat interactions in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the development of a multi-species trend analysis method to identify sites of management concern, assessment of the current distribution of species, status reports on fish assemblages of marine parks, and the evaluation of no-take zones in the Florida Keys. REEF's collaboration with a variety of partners, combined with the Fish Survey Project's standardized census method and database management system, has resulted in a successful citizen science monitoring program.

marine fish volunteer monitoring conservation citizen science coral reef reef fish 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baird, B. E., Miller-Henson, M., and Semmens, B. X.: 2000, Improving California's System of Marine Managed Areas: Final Report of the State Interagency Marine Managed Areas Workgroup, Resource Agency of California, Ocean Resources Management Program, Sacramento, CA. http://ceres.ca.gov/cra/ocean/.Google Scholar
  2. James, F. C., McCulloch, C. E., and Wiedenfeld, D. A.: 1996, ‘New Approaches to the Analysis of Population Trends in Land Birds’, Ecology 77(1), 13–27.Google Scholar
  3. Jeffrey, C. F. G., Pattengill-Semmens, C. V., Buja, K., Christensen, J. D., Coyne, M., Monaco, M. E., and Gittings, S.: in press, ‘Benthic Habitat Associations of Reef Fishes in the Florida Keys: Coupling of Benthic Habitats and Fish Distributions via GIS Technology’, Proceedings International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000.Google Scholar
  4. Jeffrey, C. F. G., Pattengill-Semmens, C. V., Gittings, S., and Monaco, M. E.: 2001, Distribution and Sighting Frequency of Reef Fishes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series MSD-01–1, US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD.Google Scholar
  5. Pattengill-Semmens, C. V: 1998, ‘The Reef Fish Assemblage of Bonaire Marine Park: an Analysis of REEF Fish Survey Project Data’, Proceedings 52nd Gulf Caribbean Fisheries Institute Meeting.Google Scholar
  6. Sauer, J. R., Peterjohn, B. G., Link, W. A.: 1994, ‘Observer Differences in the North American Breeding Bird Survey’, Auk 111(1), 50–62.Google Scholar
  7. Schmitt, E. F. and Sullivan, K. M.: 1996, ‘Analysis of a Volunteer Method for Collecting Fish Presence and Abundance Data in the Florida Keys’, Bulletin of Marine Science 59(2), 404–416.Google Scholar
  8. Semmens, B. X., Ruesink, J. L., and Pattengill-Semmens, C. V.: In Press, ‘Multi-site Multi-species Trends: a New Tool for Coral Reef Managers’, Proceedings International Coral Reef Symposium, October 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christy V. Pattengill-Semmens
    • 1
  • Brice X. Semmens
    • 2
  1. 1.REEF Environmental Education FoundationUSA
  2. 2.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of WashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations