Swimming among the multitude of fish can be exciting yet perplexing. There are millions of species each with unique personalities of their own.
Now there is a way to learn how to identify the residents of the sea. What is known as “Fishinars”are free online classes for interested lovers of the sea, whether it be divers, snorkelers, swimmers or those who love to fish, improve their ability to identify fish and invertebrate species. These courses are courtesy of The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).
With so much to cover, every minute counts and the learning session goes through common names and a lesson defining features and habitats for each organism. Similar to a college environment, online attendees are introduced to lectures given by knowledgeable naturalists, underwater photographers and guest speakers from the ever-important marine community.
Examples of previous “Fishinars”include “The Wrasse Class”, “The Blennywatcher” and “Holy Moly Gobies”. It is extremely easy to participate. On any device with Internet access, register online and you will receive a web link to the meeting. The presentation appears on your screen and just like a regular class, you can ask the instructor questions and a series of quizzes will test how well you are absorbing the material. The link can be found at www.REEF.org/resources/webinars.
Become an even greater part of the undersea community through the REEF Volunteer Survey Project. Through this initiative, any diver or snorkeler can survey fish populations and enter the data into a global database containing more than 160,000 surveys. Marine ecologists, government officials and nonprofit conservation organizations use this information to monitor and protect fragile marine ecosystems.
Just to give you a sneak preview, Ned Deloach who is an underwater photographer and the cofounder of REEF, recently lectured on fish reproduction and mating behaviors in “Speed Dating Fishy Style”. Lad Akins, special projects director at REEF, along with Stephanie Green, lionfish researcher at Simon Fraser University, discussed the lionfish invasion and management strategies in “Lionfish 101”. It is a whole new way to get your feet wet in the world of marine biology.
These courses are an opportune start to becoming scientists of the sea. Go to www.REEF.org/resources/webinars to sign up for your course today.