Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

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Southeast Florida Reef News

Coral Reef Identification Classes Planned for Earth Month 2010

By Christopher Boykin
Awareness & Appreciation Project Coordinator

Participants in the REEF Fish ID class will learn to identify ornamental reef fish such as this French angelfish. <br/>Photo: Dave Gilliam, Ph.D.
Participants in the REEF Fish ID class will learn to identify ornamental reef fish such as this French angelfish.
Photo: Dave Gilliam, Ph.D.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) invites you to celebrate Earth Month 2010 by participating in one of four educational classes that will be held twice during the month of April. Classes are FREE, but space is limited, so reserve your spot early by contacting Christopher.Boykin@dep.state.fl.us. Classes will be held at the Biscayne Bay Environmental Center (the FDEP CRCP office) located at 1277 NE 79th Street Causeway, Miami, FL 33138.

REEF Fish Identification: 6 - 9pm (Tuesday, April 6) and 1 - 4pm (Wednesday, April 7) DESCRIPTION: This is a beginner course that teaches the basics of “fish watching” including how to identify 50 commonly sighted species in the tropical western Atlantic. All materials are provided. An evaluation will be conducted at the end of the training. Anyone scoring 80% or better and who goes on to complete two fish surveys can become an Experience Level 2 volunteer for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).

"The REEF Fish Survey Project is a volunteer fish monitoring program that enables volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations. The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, the Roving Diver Technique (RDT), and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's website. Data collected by REEF volunteers are used for public education and by a variety of resource management agencies and researchers." For more information on REEF, go to: www.REEF.org.

Marine Invertebrate Identification: 6 - 9pm (Tuesday, April 13) and 1 - 4pm (Wednesday, April 14)
DESCRIPTION: The most common sea sponges, octocorals (soft corals), crustaceans, echinoderms and mollusks that you’re likely to encounter when diving or snorkeling on southeast Florida’s coral reefs will be introduced in this course. A knowledge review will be administered at the end of the class and all participants will receive a resource CD-ROM of images from the course for future reference.

PADI Project Aware: 6 - 9pm (Tuesday, April 20) and 1 - 4pm (Wednesday, April 21)
DESCRIPTION: This is a formal, but fun, introduction for divers and non-divers alike to the plight of the world’s aquatic ecosystems. It is offered to anyone who wants to learn more about, and take responsibility for, marine and freshwater environments. Although diving and snorkeling offer the best avenues to appreciate the aquatic world, you do not have to be a diver to participate in this Project Aware presentation – it’s open to everyone. The only requirement is an interest in learning more about the 70% of the earth covered in water. A PADI certification for the Project Aware Specialty course is also available for a fee of $18.00 to cover the cost of the materials, but is not necessary for participation in this seminar.

Stony Coral Identification: 6 - 9pm (Tuesday, April 27) and 1 - 4pm (Wednesday, April 28)
DESCRIPTION: This course will introduce you to thirty species of stony corals found offshore Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties. A knowledge review will be administered at the end of the class and all participants will receive a resource CD-ROM of images from the course for future reference.

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