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  • March 26, 2019 6:12 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    We are very pleased to announce that Craig Jenni will be speaking to us again at our April meeting. He received formal scuba training at age 12, he started working at a dive shop at 14, became a scuba instructor at 18 and ever since has been a career dive professional. During his 30 years as a dive instructor he has certified thousands of divers and hundreds of instructors. He trained as a Navy SEAL and taught commercial diving at The Ocean Corporation. He has vast experience in recreational, technical, military, commercial, scientific and public safety diving.

    Craig is currently an instructor or instructor trainer with every major scuba certification agency in the U.S. He was formally the Executive Director of the YMCA Scuba Program, responsible for thousands of scuba instructors along with the administration of this diver training agency. He was a representative of the Recreational Scuba Training Counsel (RSTC) and authored training standards for diver education program ranging from recreational, technical, scientific, public safety and commercial diving. He has specialized qualifications including; dive medical technician, life support technician, equipment repair instructor, and forensic medical investigator. He is actively involved in teaching dive specialties such as cave, decompression, mixed gasses, semi-closed and closed-circuit rebreathers and public safety diving.

    Craig is the owner and President of Dive & Marine Consultants International (DMCI), Inc., which specializes in conducting forensic investigations of dive accidents. Since starting DMCI Craig has investigated over 600 diver fatalities and over 3600 diving and boating accidents. He conducts training seminars for PSD, law enforcement, medical examiners and emergency response personnel as to how to conduct proper dive accident investigations and autopsies. He is often called to consult domestic and foreign governments regarding diving and frequently serves as an expert witness for dive accident litigation. Craig is commonly hired to consult diver training agencies and insurance Underwriters to assess and advise them on matters pertaining to risk management.

    As a lawyer, he is of counsel with the law firm of Donna E. Albert & Associates which practices exclusively in defending dive accident lawsuits. As a diver he can be found pursuing underwater interests that most divers only read about. As a dive leader Craig is a strong proponent of maintaining fitness, currency of dive skills and utilizing proper equipment to make diving as safe as possible.

  • February 22, 2019 6:11 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Stephen Kajiura is returning to give us more information about “Snowbird Sharks: Seasonal Abundance and Spatial Distribution of Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) in Southeast Florida”

    He is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University. His area of expertise is the sensory biology of sharks and rays with an emphasis on the electrosensory system. In addition to his sensory physiology research, Dr Kajiura studies the massive seasonal aggregation of blacktip sharks in southeast Florida. He incorporates aerial surveys with tagging and acoustic telemetry to document the migration of these sharks along the US eastern seaboard.

    Dr Kajiura has conducted research for various agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. He has published over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has presented numerous talks at scientific conferences. He has supervised a dozen graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and has served on numerous thesis committees for students from around the world. Dr Kajiura maintains a strong public outreach service, primarily through television documentary appearances, and has served as an elected member of the American Elasmobranch Society Board of Directors.

    Dr Kajiura received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, a MS in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology from the University of Guelph (Canada).

    Southeast Florida experiences an enormous seasonal influx of upper trophic level marine predators each year as blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) migrate south to overwinter in nearshore waters. These sharks form aggregations ranging from a few individuals to thousands. The sharks are often found in very shallow water, only a few meters from popular swimming beaches which raises concerns about potential negative interactions. To quantify shark abundance and distribution, an aerial survey was conducted during peak season (December - April) from 2011-2017. A low altitude (150m) survey flight was flown from Government Cut (South Beach, Miami) to Jupiter Inlet at approximately biweekly (2011-2014) or weekly (2015-2017) intervals. A high definition video camera recorded a transect from the beach to approximately 200m offshore. Segments of the survey transect were demarcated by inlets, and the number of sharks found within each segment was counted to calculate shark density. During the seven year study, the greatest shark density was consistently found in February and March. Although sharks were seen throughout the entire 132km length of the survey transect, significantly greater numbers of sharks were found at the northernmost third of the transect in Palm Beach County (Boynton Beach Inlet to Jupiter Inlet) where densities exceeded 1,000 sharks km-2. The habitat throughout the transect is largely consistent, so it remains unclear why the sharks are not distributed farther south. Southward migrating sharks might simply stop once they reach appropriate conditions and warming oceans might eventually restrict their migration to increasingly higher latitudes.

  • January 18, 2019 12:00 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    A Trip to Guadalupe Island – Diving With The Great White Sharks

    Dr. Gary Rose will take you to Guadalupe Island on his dive with the Great White Sharks. The journey will also review logistics, the do’s and don’ts, and survival tips.  He will also give you an entertaining overview of what makes sharks such great survivors – how their multiple senses are so different than our own.

    Gary Rose MD has been a diver for over 45 years and is a PADI Open Water Instructor. As a Plastic Surgeon and Associate Professor of Microbiology at the College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University he has fulfilled his life passion as a marine biologist with his research, including marine microorganisms, as well as large ocean apex predators.  Dr. Rose lectures all over the world in an interactive and entertaining style. His years of experience are evident in the many stories and anecdotes he relates. Dr. Rose is a member of the Divers Alert Network and The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. You can find him on weekends diving with the sharks and pursuing his love of underwater photography.

  • December 22, 2018 7:11 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Presentation by Bonnie Barnes

    Bonnie Barnes currently serves as Development Manager at Reef Environmental Education Foundation, an International Marine Conservation organization headquartered in the Florida Keys. Bonnie’s heart is in conservation, whether scuba diving, traipsing through a forest, or swooshing down a mountain, she loves and cares about our environment. Having started her first business at 17 in her hometown of Las Vegas, she eventually found her way to Florida where she owned a marketing company for another 14 years in Jacksonville, FL. After earning her MBA in 2006, she jumped head-first into the nonprofit world, as Executive Director of a land conservation organization, North Florida Land Trust. Through this relationship, she was instrumental in the donation of a critical oceanfront property to the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at UF, to preserve this land in perpetuity as a prime turtle nesting site.

    As an avid diver, she volunteered regularly to monitor the offshore environment with the Jacksonville Reef Research Team. For her environmental work, Bonnie was awarded Florida’s Sea Grant Volunteer of the Year Award in 1991. With over 10 years in nonprofit management and cultivation of donors, Bonnie has found her way to the Florida Keys, where she can combine her love of diving with protection of our ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public in its care.

    Bonnie will provide an overview of the 30-year-old organization, updates on special projects and a preview of upcoming work underway regarding Lionfish, Nassau Grouper, Exotic and Invasive Species, Diadema and other marine-related projects.

  • November 27, 2018 8:46 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    John Chatterton

    Speaking about his search for a Spanish treasure ship

    John Chatterton is one of the world’s most accomplished and well known wreck divers. He was one of the co-hosts for 57 episodes of the History Channel’s Deep Sea Detectives television series, and has worked as a consultant to 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and CBS. Prior to his career in television, John spent twenty years working as a commercial diver in and around New York City, and on September 11, 2001, was actually working on a project in the water underneath the World Financial Center, across the street from the Tower #1.

    His passion has always been researching, locating, and diving the world’s shipwrecks. In 1991, the discovery and subsequent identification of the German submarine U-869, off the coast of New Jersey, was the subject of a television documentary, Hitler’s Lost Sub, a two hour special for the popular NOVA series on PBS. This same story was the subject of a Random House bestselling book by Rob Kurson, Shadow Divers. It has been published in more than 23 languages, as well as an audio book  The movie rights to the international bestseller have been purchased by a major studio.

    There is much more to his biography here.

  • October 17, 2018 1:36 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Hammerheads and Shore-Based Shark Fishing

    Presentation by Hannah Medd

    Hannah Medd, founder of the American Shark Conservancy and marine biologist, has more than 10 years’ experience conducting applied research and conservation outreach for global and local shark and ray initiatives. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology and Ecology at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Florida. She traveled to South Africa to complete her Masters of Science in Marine Biodiversity from the University of Cape Town, where she learned about many aspects of marine resource management, including research and academia, government and policy, socioeconomics and ecotourism.

    Endangered great hammerheads are popular species among divers and fishermen alike. This species is prohibited from landing in Florida waters and yet seem to be facing a poorly-understood threat, shore-based shark fishing. As part of American Shark Conservancy's research program, this project will describe the impact of this activity on the species and use these data to help inform policy.

  • September 25, 2018 3:47 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    The diversity of shark body shape, function, and habitat use

    Presentation by Sarah Hoffmann

    Sarah is a fifth (and final!) year PhD student at Florida Atlantic University. She is interested the diversity of body and fin shape among shark species and how these may relate to habitat use. To study these questions, she has adapted a technique to capture 3D video with underwater cameras. Her research on movement in different environments will hopefully one day inspire ocean monitoring vehicle design to be customized for different parts of the ocean. She also regularly collaborates with the Apex Predators Tagging Program (National Marine Fisheries Service), the Florida Fish Kill Hotline (FWC), the Florida Manta Project (Marine Megafauna Foundation), and Loggerhead Marinelife Center. In addition to her research, Sarah is an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time on or in the water as possible. She has spent time living and diving in the Florida Keys, the San Juan Islands (WA), and 250 miles off the Eastern coast of Nova Scotia (the Grand Banks, Canada).

  • August 15, 2018 12:24 PM | Anonymous

    Madeline Kaufman Speaking about Coral Reefs

    Coral reefs have been on the decline for the past couple decades, yet millions of people depend on these ecosystems for food, jobs, tourism, recreation, medicinal compounds and coastline protection. With recent global bleaching events, severe disease outbreaks and increasing anthropogenic pressures, reefs have suffered to the point that active human intervention has become necessary. About ten years ago, the Lirman Benthic Ecology Lab at the University of Miami began to actively propagate corals in offshore nurseries and plant them onto the reef. They have planted over 10,000 corals onto the Florida Reef Tract to date. About 3 years ago, they expanded their restoration efforts to a citizen science program, known as Rescue a Reef. As a part of this program, they bring recreational divers out on coral gardening excursions in which divers help maintain the nurseries, collect corals and plant them onto the reef. To date, citizen scientists have helped plant about 3,000 corals. During her presentation, she will talk about the importance of coral reefs, the threats they are facing and what we can do to help.

    She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland but came to Miami 6 years ago to pursue a Bachelor of Science in marine science and biology. After graduating in 2016, she took a gap year and became a divemaster with South Beach Divers, began volunteering as outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Debris Free Oceans and worked as a research assistant in two coral research labs at UM. She just returned to school this past January and is pursuing a Master of Science in marine biology, focusing on coral conservation genetics and restoration ecology.

  • July 30, 2018 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    Presentation by Ben Hicks - Wildlife Photographer

    South-Florida based photographer Ben Hicks has journeyed across the Americas and ventured to exotic locales spanning the globe to compose a profoundly diverse collection of fine-art photography that truly captures the majectic beauty of the natural world. This self-proclaimed "adventure-boy" not only strives to portray the familiar in extraordinarily original ways, but also takes big risks to capture the most complex, often dangerous situations including big waves and precarious animal encounters all to share his admiration for Mother Nature's creations. Whether shooting tropical beachscapes in the South Pacific, vast sandstone buttes in the American Southwest or the first few open water strides of a leatherback sea turtle hatchling, Ben's distinctive vision and inimitable approach to photography renders intricately detailed images that captivate viewers and server as a testament to his enjoyment and reverence of nature.

    Environmental Mission

    Through his photography, Ben aspires to raise environmental awareness by depicting the natural world in a relevant and endearing manner that everyone can connect with. Ben is particularly focused on using his photography to communicate the importance of conserving the world's oceans and follows key species, such as see turtle, that serve as important indicators of the health of the world's marine and coastal ecosystems. Ben shares the Sea Turtle Conservancy's belief that "whether sea turtles ultimately vanish from the planet or whether they remain a wild and thriving part of the natural world, will speak volumes about both the general health of the planet and the ability of humans to sustainably coexist with the diversity of life on Earth." Ben strives to serve the global community by using his art to inspire others to value conservation and preservation so that we can work towards a more sustainable future.

  • June 29, 2018 9:56 AM | Anonymous

    History of the Hillsboro Lighthouse

    by Ralph Krugler

    Mr. Krugler is the Historian and on the Board of Directors of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. He is also on the Board of the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation, which is trying to save offshore lighthouses and restore them. He is also a member of the United States Lighthouse Society and a member of the Florida Lighthouse Association.

    Mr. Krugler assists with tours of the Hillsboro lighthouse. He is also part of the Fresnel lens cleaning crew, and assists with some tower maintenance. His book, titled "The (Almost) Complete History of the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse," is nearing publication.

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