Skip to content. Skip to navigation

Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Christy Pattengill-Semmens

Director of Science for Reef Environmental Education Foundation

Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D. is the Director of Science for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).  Christy conducted her dissertation research on fish assemblages at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico before joining REEF's staff in 1998.  She is located in the West Coast REEF Office in Seattle and coordinates REEF's West Coast survey activities and special projects.  Her main responsibilities at REEF are to coordinate with research and management communities on the use of

REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project data, to oversee expansions of the Project, and to coordinate REEF's data management team. In addition to providing raw data files to interested parties, she also writes summary reports for all of REEF's contracted monitoring projects and analyzes datasets to present at scientific meetings.  Christy has published several articles in journals such as Bulletin of Marine Science, Marine Ecology Progress Series and Environmental Biology of Fishes.

REEF Volunteers Making Dives that Count - Data Collection and Coastal Stewardship

The monumental task of surveying and cataloging living marine resources can be daunting for managers who are typically constrained by limited budgets.  Furthermore, establishing monitoring programs at a scale large enough to appropriately monitor marine communities is frequently cited as a stumbling block to effective management. Since 1993 volunteer sport divers have been gathering data on fish assemblages as part of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation's (REEF) Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Survey data are recorded on preprinted data sheets, which are returned to REEF and optically digitized, and data are housed in a publicly accessible database on REEF's Website ( To date, over 100,000 visual Roving Diver Technique surveys have been conducted at sites throughout the Americas, Caribbean, and in the Hawaiian Islands.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

More about this...