Start REEF Surveying Guide
you wanna start doing some REEF surveys, but don't know quite
how to go about it? Here's the low-down...
Get a few good books!!
starters, REEF recommends:
Fish ID - California to Alaska by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach
- 2nd edition.
Fishes - of the Pacific Northwest by Andy Lamb - 2nd edition.
to Whales by Rick Harbo (for invertebrates). )
- 2nd edition.
are available at many local dive shops as well as online bookstores
and through REEF's
Start learning online!
of the fish and invertebrates that are taught in the beginning Fish
and Invertebrate ID courses are found online, along with names and
family or phylum (which you should learn):
me the fish
me the invertebrates
list of fish and invertebrates you'll need to know
Get a slate!
can attach special underwater paper with the most common
fish and all the invertebrates surveyed, to your slate to make
surveying really easy, and it's available for only $.75 each from
store. Each sheet is good for 4 dives (PNW and CAL). If you're
careful, you can erase data and reuse the uw paper.
use a slate you have currently, or get one from REEF's
online store. Two versions are available, the yellow slate
and the white (Deluxe) slate. Here are the differences:
click to enlarge
pencil attached with velcro. Useless in cold water with gloves.
I attach a pop-a-point or cheapie mechanical pencil with surgical
with short wooden pencil already attached with surgical tubing
with small plastic clip and one rubber band to attach underwater
paper. In cold water and currents, these both come off within
minutes. Instead, I use 4 rubber bands: 2 horizontally and 2
vertically to attach paper securely.
with 4 wingnuts to attach paper very very securely. Really securely.
you wrap paper over the top of the slate, you can easily do
your second dive without removing uw paper.
must remove 4 wingnuts with cold hands (be careful, don't drop
them!) to switch uw paper between each and every dive.
should attach a wrist strap to the slate so you won't lose it.
with a wrist strap attached.
and streamlined, can slip between tummy and cummerbund on BCD.
bulky, wingnuts protrude out 1/2".
buoyant, floats up in your face when not in use.
Get in the water!
about your dive as you normally would. This is called the Roving
Diver Technique. No need to sit on the bottom for 30 min in one
place, no need to swim a straight line.
Record only what you personally see. If your dive buddy
spots a sixgill while you're busy checking your gauges, sorry!
Only your buddy can record the sixgill sighting.
you see only one of a species on your entire dive, mark S for
Single. If you see 2-10 of the critters, then mark F for Few.
Sighting 11 - 100 of the critter bumps you into the M (many) category,
and anything over 100 should be marked A for Abundant.
record what you can positively identify. It's perfectly
OK to not know the name of the critter while you're on your dive,
but then look it up in a book afterwards and positively identify
it. When in doubt, leave it out.
surveyors will find it easiest to survey for either fish OR invertebrates,
but not both. You can indicate what type of survey you conduct
when you submit your data online.
Submit your data!
to www.reef.org and select Submit Data Online. Using your REEF
Member number, login and get started!
View your data online!
about 2-3 weeks for your data to be processed.
Go to REEF's website
and access your data by logging in. You can access tons of info
from your login page, like your survey log, your REEF experience
level, dive info, and your account and orders.
Other Great Stuff!
that's all there is to it! Best Fishes and Happy Critterwatching!