Collaborative Team and Major Supporters

The Grouper Moon Project is a collaboration between REEF and the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment. REEF extends a huge thanks to the CIDOE staff for their tireless efforts, including Phil Bush, Bradley Johnson, Croy McCoy, Tim Austin, Gina Ebanks-Pietre, Mike Guderian, Cody Panton, James Gibb, Keith Neale, Delwin McLaughlin, and Robert Walton. The Grouper Moon Project has continued through the years empowered by the first year’s success and the passion of project leader Leslie Whaylen.

Since 2016, the REEF volunteer field project team has included: Dr. Alli Candelmo (previously with CCMI, REEF Staff since 2018), Dr. Steve Gittings, Hal Peterson, Tom Sparke, Dr. Brian Stock, Berkley White, Dr. Lynn Waterhouse, and Marissa Wiganowske. Over the years, other members have included: Judie Clee, Thor Dunmire, Heather George, Tracey Griffin, Doug Harder, Brenda Hitt, Denise Mizell, Alex Score, Sheryl Shea, and Leslie Whaylen. The Grouper Education Program has been coordinated by Todd Bohannon since 2012.

Berkley White from Backscatter Underwater Photography & Video has been donating his time, equipment, and expertise to conduct high-quality video surveys of the spawning aggregation and habitat since 2015. Several other photographer and videographers have assisted through the years to help tell the story of the Grouper Moon Project, including: Ned and Anna DeLoach, Dr. Guy Harvey, Jim Hellemn, Paul Humann, Tiago Peixoto, George Schellenger, Tom Sparke, and PBS Changing Seas.

Dr. Christy Semmens (REEF's Co-Executive Director) and Dr. Brice Semmens (Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)), have been a lead scientists for the project since 2003. Drs. Scott and Selina Heppell from Oregon State University (OSU) have been assisting with various Grouper Moon research projects since 2005. SIO Semmens Lab graduates, Dr. Brian Stock and Dr. Lynn Waterhouse (from the Semmens Lab), have assisted with field efforts and data management since 2012. The 2010 Our World Underwater Scholar and SIO Semmens Lab graduate, Dr. Josh Stewart, assisted with field efforts and outreach in 2011-2013. OSU graduate student, Stephanie Kraft-Archer assisted the project 2008-2011. Drew Nguyen, an undergraduate with the SIO Semmens Lab, set up and managed databases and grouper facial recognition work in 2019-2020. Field techs have included Marie Diaz and Jessica Freeman.

Generous logistical support has been provided throughout the years by Peter Hillenbrand, as well as by local dive operators at the Little Cayman Beach Resort/Reef Divers and the Southern Cross Club. Brac Reef Resort has provided lodging support for education efforts on Cayman Brac. Cayman Airways has provided inter-island travel support and McLauglin Car & Scooter Rental has provided island transportion on Little Cayman.

Grants from the Disney Conservation Fund from 2011 to 2015 supported field efforts, the Baby Grouper Adrift webpage, several outreach products, and the development and annual coordination of the Grouper Education Program. A research grant from the Lenfest Ocean Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts funded the project between 2008-2011. Funding for the acoustic work was provided in 2009-2012 by the NOAA International Coral Reef Conservation Program, the J. Edward Mahoney Foundation, and PADI Project AWARE. Additional funding has been provided by hundreds of REEF members.

Wayne Sullivan and his crew of the Glen Ellen provided generous field support from 2009-2014. Raymarine Marine Electronics donated RADAR equipment to assist the CIDOE in their enforcement efforts. To alleviate the constraints of diving deep depths on regular scuba, several other sponsors came on board to assist in the project, including Divetech and PM Gas of Grand Cayman, Silent Diving of Brockville, Ontario and Shearwater Research of Vancouver, British Columbia. FLOW Cayman Islands (previously LIME) has provided 4G internet support for the live-video feeds for the Grouper Education Project since 2012, and Ocean Reef Systems and Ocean Systems, Inc. have provided technical support for the live feeds. Pegasus Thrusters have supported the project since 2013 through the donation of Diver Propulsion Vehicles and support staff.