Contact Us

Pacific NW
Critter Watchers

Photo Gallery

Directions to
Dive Sites & Maps

Dive Site


About Janna

All text and photos
© 2002 - 2017


Janna Nichols

photo by Claude Nichols

photo by Pete Naylor
Underwater photography and marine life identification are my passion! I enjoy learning about fish in different regions around the world. I conduct REEF fish and invertebrate surveys on almost all of my dives as well as take photos of marine life. I catalog and archive my photos so they are available for educational uses. I'm also extremely involved in many activities and projects related to my love of the underwater world - for an overview, take a peek at the big list below.


Here's the hit list of what I've been up to lately:

PADI created a video about their Master Scuba Diver program that featured me and diving in the Pacific Northwest. Worked with underwater videographer Laura James, and topside videographer Brad Curran of Puget Sound Creative. (March 2015)
Lead educational REEF Field Survey trips for divers to learn fish and invertebrate ID and participate in the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Destinations have included Hornby Island BC, Barkley Sound, BC, and Catalina Island. 2012 - 2015
Nominated to the Women Divers Hall of Fame (2014)
Led REEF's Advanced Assessment Team on a weeklong fish and invertebrate monitoring survey project in the San Juan Islands. This project is in conjunction with the SeaDoc Society. (2013 - 2014)
Awarded Dive News Networks' 2013 Diver of the Year award.
Nominated and selected to serve on WDFW's citizen advisory board for the Giant Pacific Octopus protection issue. (2013)
Contributing photographer for Milton Love, Tom Laidig and John Butler's "A Guide to the Rockfishes, Thornyheads, and Scorpionfishes of the Northeast Pacific. 2012
Responsible for REEF's social media Facebook page - 1 post per day for outreach, teaching and community building purposes. 2012 - present
Helped design and acquire photos for REEF's NE US and Canada laminated Fish ID card. 2011
Same for the NE US & Canada's laminated Invertebrate ID card, South Atlantic States Region (SAS) fish and invertebrate ID cards, 2013 - 2014
Contributing photographer (and more!) for Milton Love's new Certainly More Than You Want to Know About The Fishes of the Pacific Coast - 2011 Contributing photographer for Andy Lamb's new Coastal Fishes of the Pacific NW (2nd edition) - 2011
Introduced "Fishinars" (Webinars that teach Fish ID) as part of REEF's resources to support its Volunteer Fish Survey Program. Complete webinar management for over 100 webinars. 2011 to present.
Helped design and provide photos for REEF's Pacific NW Invertebrate ID card - 2011
Part of the REEF Advanced Assessment Team that surveyed the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Help set up project, select survey sites, organize surveyors, error check data, etc.
Photos I took of stressed fish and invertebrates appear on the front page of the Seattle Times (which was super cool!) in a story about Hood Canal's low oxygen problem. Also video I took appears on their website here. (October 2010)
Kitsap Sun runs a story about the low oxygen problem in Hood Canal and includes video I took. Online version here. (October 2010)
Winner of the Oceans People category for the Living Oceans Society photo contest. (October 2010)
Nominated for the Warren G. Magnuson Puget Sound Legacy award. (March 2010)
Worked on REEF's Pacific NW Fish ID and Invertebrate ID, and California Fish ID instructor curricula - providing and acquiring photos, writing up text, debugging and proofing. Taught Fish/Invertebrate/Algae ID courses in California in Santa Barbara (UCSB), Santa Cruz (UCSC), San Diego, Dana Point (Ocean Institute) and in Long Beach at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Helped design and provided photos for REEF's Pacific Coast laminated Fish ID card.
Hired as REEF's Outreach Coordinator (January 2010). Responsibilities include coordination of REEF's presence at West coast dive shows, Field Station assistance and promotion, assist with REEF database management (creation and mapping of zone codes worldwide, error checking Pacific NW, California and Northeast data).
Taught REEF fish and invertebrate ID courses to divers at Shannon Point Marine Science Center (Anacortes), the Oregon Zoo, Redondo's Marine Science and Technology Center. (2010)
Nominated and selected to serve on WDFW's advisory board for the new Puget Sound Rockfish Conservation Plan. (Dec 2009 - 2010)
Part of the PNW REEF Advanced Assessment Team that conducted a week-long survey of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. August 2009.
Guest speaker at the Seattle Aquarium for World Oceans Day 2009 - "Beneath the Ocean: A SCUBA Diver's View"
Interviewed on NPR (KUOW - Seattle) for a news feature by reporter Ann Dornfeld - "Fish Counters"
Part of REEF's Advanced Assessment Team (Pacific Coast) - diver for the 2009 annual marine life survey of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Speaker for the Marine Science and Technology Center's "Science on the Sound" lecture series.
Nine of my photos featured in a special article in Portland's Oregonian newspaper on 3/1/09 - View it here (only 2 photos in the online version) Beauty is below the surface for Northwest Divers by Ellee Thalheimer.
Diving Safety Officer for Washington State University's Scientific diving program. (Vancouver) Also participated as a scientific diver on eelgrass surveys and Bottomfish Recovery Zone projects in the San Juan Islands through University of Washington and UC-Davis (SeaDoc Society). 2004 to 2010.
Trained hundreds of REEF volunteer divers and organized survey dives in various locations in Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the San Juan Islands. Work with local charter captains and divers to get mapping coordinates for dive sites and input into the REEF database. Ongoing...
Write up, gather photos, manage the subscription list and distribute a newsletter to almost 1000 volunteer divers in the Pacific NW for the REEF organization. This list has grown through local training classes, organized dives, and presentations to dive clubs, from about 200 divers to over 1000 divers in just 6 years.
Spotted Ratfish photo of mine appears in the new book "Ocean", by the American Museum of Natural History. Contributing photographer for the new Coastal Fish ID book (2nd edition) by Paul Humann.
Write, gather accompanying photos and distribute a monthly newsletter to almost 500 Washington Scuba Alliance members. Manage the membership list for WSA and serve on the board of directors as Secretary.
Chris Santella's book, "Fifty Places to Dive before you Die" features an interview with me about diving in Puget Sound. Photos appeared in Alaska SeaLife Center's new Guide to Marine Life, by John Uscian. (Alaska Sea Grant)
Co-author with Dr. Christy Semmens of two poster presentations at the 2009 Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem conference on REEF citizen science and volunteer monitoring of both invasive tunicates as well as monitoring the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Developed, gathered photos and wrote the curriculum for REEF's new Advanced Fish ID course. Debuted the course at the Seattle Aquarium, as well as at the Oregon Zoo and the Vancouver Aquarium in 2008.
One of several volunteer divers interviewed for a story on invasive tunicates in Puget Sound by Tacoma News Tribune reporter, Susan Gordon. Read it here. 2008
Speaker at the SeaDoc Society's Marine Lecture Series on Orcas Island. 2008
Gave a presentation at People for Puget Sound's monthly speaker series, "Exploring Puget Sound" at REI in Seattle. 2008
Surveyor for REEF's 2008 survey of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and led volunteer surveyors for the annual 2008 Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary survey project.
Part of REEF volunteer dive team that found a derelict net entangled in delicate Cloud Sponges in Hood Canal, and worked with the NW Straits Commission to have the net removed. Full story. 2008
Photos appear on WDFW website for Fish identification. 2008
Interviewed by KUOW reporter (and recreational diver!) Ann Dornfeld about Hood Canal's invasive tunicates. Read or listen here. 2008
Part of survey team to follow up with invasive tunicate sightings in the San Juan Islands - article here. 2008
Photos of regional marine life used for beach-side kiosk design at Clallam County's Salt Creek Park. 2008
Organized bi-monthly survey projects for REEF's Advanced Assessment Team to gather data in Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the San Juan Islands. 2007 - 2008.
Conducted a series of workshops in the Puget Sound/Hood Canal region to train recreational divers how to ID and handle sightings of invasive tunicates. Sponsored by the Puget Sound Action Team (now Puget Sound Partnership) - 2007
Presented at the Georgia Basin Puget Sound Researcher's Conference in Vancouver BC about REEF Fish and Invertebrate ID courses and their positive effects upon recreational divers. Also presented a poster about using volunteer divers to help monitor Invasive Tunicates and Stress in Hood Canal. 2007
Photos I've taken of invasive tunicates are being used by the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association for training, education and outreach. 2007
Interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR) for a segment about Invasive Tunicates on the Day-To-Day Show by Luke Burbank. 2007
Worked in conjunction with the Seattle Times (Warren Cornwall) for an article about Invasive Tunicates in Washington and volunteer diver efforts to monitor and remove them. 2007
Wrote Article about diving in Hood Canal that appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of Hood Canal News
Assembled, trained, and acquired a Scientific Collection Permit from WDFW for a small team of volunteer divers who locate, monitor and remove invasive tunicates in Washington's marine waters. 2006 to present
Established monthly volunteer diver transect surveys in Hood Canal to gather data for the Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program - 2006 to 2008. Article about the dive project appeared in the Puget Sound News.
Member of People for Puget Sound - joined 2006
Member of Puget Sound Partnership's Tunicate Response Advisory Committee in Olympia - 2006 to present
Photos of invasive tunicates in Washington are being used by the Puget Sound Partnership on posters and flyers warning boaters, divers and marina owners about the various species - 2006
My photos of Rock Sole and Crescent Gunnel grace the cover of Milton Love's newest thriller, "Resource Inventory of Marine and Estuarine Fishes of the West Coast and Alaska" (Summer 2005)
Serve on the Board of Directors for Washington Scuba Alliance. Actively serve to promote Scuba Diving in the Northwest. 2006 - 2010
The Seattle Aquarium and the SeaDoc Society partnered to sponsor me to teach REEF Fish and Invertebrate ID Classes at the aquarium in May 2005 and again in 2006
REEF Volunteer of the Year (2003)
Co-Instructor for the Marine Ecology class at the Oregon Coast Aquarium - 2004 to present
Moderator for Northwest Dive Club's online critter watchers forum as well as Northwest Diver's Creature Feature online forum.
FishBase collaborator. Contributed a number of Pacific NW fish species photos to their online database. Ongoing.
Mentor for several High School student's Senior Projects. 2003, 2004
Dive Training Magazine's cover story for Sept 2003 is an article called 'Scuba Stewards' and I'm one of 5 featured divers in that article.
Member of REEF's Advanced Assessment Team (AAT). Participated in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary survey trip 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008, 2009.
Interviewed by NorthwestDiver.com Radio program about REEF and the Pacific NW Critterwatchers
REEF Level 5 for Pacific NW - Expert status and able to administer all REEF Level exams to Pacific NW surveyors, also a REEF Field Station
Present introductory seminars about Critter Watching to dive clubs in the Northwest area (2002 - 2004)
Pacific NW Critterwatchers - maintain the website and buddy list, email divers each month, gather material, organize dives and schedule survey days.
Multiple articles and photos (including cover!) by me have been published in Northwest Dive News from 2000 - 2004.
Presents short hands-on seminars for grade-school children about scuba diving and marine biology. (2002 - 2004)
Highline Community College speaker for Marine Biology and Oceanography classes. (2003) Many of my photos are used in their Marine Science and Technology program.
One of REEF's top 10 Fish Surveyors in the Pacific region, 2002 - present
Organized and taught public seminars and scuba dives for REEF's Great Annual Fish Count in 2002-present
Active participant in REEF's Quadra Island, BC Field Survey (2003) and Monterey Bay Field Survey project (2002, 2006)
China, Vermilion and Black rockfish photos were used on the Pacific Marine Conservation Council's website. (Rockfish of the month)
Many of my photos are used in REEF's Pacific NW Fish and Invertebrate ID curriculum.
Surveyor for San Juan County's Bottomfish Recovery Program, 2002, 2006, 2007. Conducted both transect and REEF surveys.
Trained at the Washington Sea Grant Aquatic Nuisance Species Workshop in Seattle, 2002 (and no, it isn't divers that are the nuisance, in spite of what you've seen...) :)
Work with Dr. Christy Semmens (Scientific Coordinator for REEF) and other REEF Instructors on the Pacific NW Fish ID curriculum. (ongoing)

I've taken 4000+ underwater photos and use many of them in my Fish ID and Invertebrate ID classes.

And not related to diving, I earned a B.S. in Engineering Technology in 1980 from BYU, and designed and maintain this website. Hobbies include bicycling, ham radio, dual sport motorcycling, camping, geocaching and goofing off with grandchildren!

Contact Janna