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REEF Fish & Friends is a free seminar series held at the REEF Campus in Key Largo, Florida. Each event features engaging ocean-themed presentations from guest speakers. Snorkelers, divers, and marine life enthusiasts are invited to join informal discussions and mingle with members of our friendly, ocean-minded community. REEF Fish & Friends is made possible by the generous support of our members. For information on how to get involved, email Due to the limited ability to social distance, face masks are required indoors.

Check the REEF Events Calendar for all the details of the next Fish & Friends event. If you want to be notified about our community events such as Fish & Friends, sign up to receive the monthly REEF Campus and Keys Community newsletter here.


January 2023: The Effects of Marine Reserves on Florida Keys Fishes
Dr. Jim Bohnsack, NOAA (retired)

Recording Here.

Dr. Bohnsack's research focuses on protected species conservation, coral reef fish ecology, and fishery application in artificial reefs and marine reserves. Learn the effects of marine reserves and climate change on Florida Keys fish species and their responses to stable and unstable environmental conditions.

February 2023: Dolphin Cognition in the Florida Keys
Abigail Haddock, Research Specialist, Dolphin Research Center

Recording Here.

Abby and the team at Dolphin Research Center are designing studies and research games to better understand the mental processes and intelligence of bottlenose dolphins. She will discuss the study of cognition research, training and testing, and why it is important for us to learn more about the complex minds of cetaceans.

March 2023: Mission Iconic Reefs: Coral Restoration Monitoring,
Andrew Ibarra, NOAA

Recording Here.

Andrew Ibarra is a research specialist working to observe and monitor coral reef restoration efforts in the Florida Keys. Andrew will discuss his work photo-documenting restoration of NOAA's Mission Iconic Reefs in the Florida Keys to better understand their ecology.

April 2023: Studying Reef Fish Ecology in the Florida Keys to Better Plan for the Future
Drew Butkowski, 
Ph.D. Candidate at Florida International University
Recording Here.

Drew studies coral reef fish behavior and ecology in the Florida Keys. He will discuss the effects of artificial reefs on nearby natural reefs, grouper foraging behavior, and how reefs and seagrasses are connected. He'll also highlight the need to better understand reef fish ecology to improve marine resource management.

May 2023: Taking Action Against Plastic Pollution
Catherine Uden, Oceana
Recording Here.

Catherine works on US federal policies to protect the world’s oceans, including fisheries laws, North Atlantic right whale protections, offshore drilling legislation, and a bill to ban the sale and trade of shark fins in the US. She also helps pass legislation to reduce single-use plastics on the local, state, and federal levels. She will discuss plastic pollution and how Floridians can take action.

June 2023: Coral Reef Sponge Research and Restoration
Bobbie Renfro, Ph.D. Candidate at Florida State University
Recording Here.

Bobbie will dive into the ecology of the strange and beautiful sponges that live on our Florida Keys reefs. She will share the preliminary results of her work on how nutrients affect these animals, and how these important filter feeders can be restored on reefs that have been damaged by storms.

July 2023: The Caribbean Spiny Lobster Super Bug
Tom Matthews, Lobster Research Scientist, FWC
Recording Here. 

It's almost lobster season in the Florida Keys, and there's no better time to learn more about one of South Florida's most popular crustaceans! Tom will discuss the complex life history of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, their communication style, and their importance to local ecosystems.

August 2023: Introduction to Fish Portraits
Stacey Henderson, Program Services Coordinator, REEF
Recording Coming Soon.

Stacey will explain several tips and tricks for getting the best underwater portraits. No matter what camera you are using or if you consider yourself to be a beginner or expert, there is something for everyone. As an experienced underwater photographer, Stacey will go over composition, lighting, and most importantly how to get your keeper shot!