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  • 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.

  • April 29, 2018 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    Last Minute Change of Speakers -

    Craig Jenni was called away due to a diving accident and had to reschedule. Perhaps we can hear what happened at a meeting later this year.

    Our speaker will be David Kaplan, Director of the South Florida Reef Research Team, Inc. (SFRRT) He will be talking about the organization and the equipment they use to collect data at three sites off Broward County they visit four times each year. The next dive is May 27th and he is looking for volunteers to fill four spots for advanced divers.

    Click here for a link to a video that shows the kinds of things they do.

    David Kaplan as been a diver since 1998. He is a NAUI, PADI Divemaster, commercial hard hat diver, tug boat captain, founding member of the South Florida Reef Research Team, and Director of SFRRT for the last 16 years. He presently works for an engineering firm for FDOT on I-95 road and bridge projects.
  • March 22, 2018 9:48 PM | Anonymous

    Google Photos:

    How to store, edit, organize and share the memories of your life

    You’ve taken hundreds of pictures with your smartphone. Now what?! The geeks at GeeksOnTour recommend Google Photos. It works automatically, and it’s FREE.

    • Gathers pictures from all your digital devices
    • Provides unlimited online storage
    • Frees up space on your phone
    • Searches and sorts by date
    • Lets you create albums, edit and enhance pictures
    • Makes it easy to create collages, animations, and movies with music

    Longtime USA Dive Club members Jim and Chris Guld are professional technology trainers. As ‘Geeks on Tour’, they present many fun and educational seminars at computer clubs, RV Rallies, senior centers, and even people’s homes all over the country. Chris is recognized by Google as a Platinum Level Top Contributor to the Google Photos Forum.

  • February 17, 2018 11:06 AM | Anonymous


    The speaker for our March meeting is Steve d'Oliveira. He will give a presentation about BugFest-By-The-Sea.

    Steve is the Public Information Officer for Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. He runs the town's annual BugFest-By-The-Sea mini-season Lobster Festival. He is a certified scuba diver and has lived in Florida since 1980. Prior to working for the town, he was a staff writer for the Fort Lauderdale News & Sun-Sentinel, where he covered diving and marine environmental issues.

  • October 28, 2017 4:33 PM | Anonymous

    Speaker: Connie Versteeg - National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation

    Since 1987, the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation has worked tirelessly to provide educational programs, promote public awareness, and support sea turtle research. The foundation is dedicated to assisting those who devote endless hours in the battle to understand and preserve the marine environment.

    Marine Biologist, Connie Versteeg, has worked in education for the organization for 10+ years, giving presentations to groups of all sizes and ages. She began working with turtles while completing her Master's degree at Nova Southeastern University with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

    Here are links to some of the articles describing what is being done by the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation.

  • August 15, 2017 12:54 PM | Anonymous

    Craig Jenni 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.

  • August 15, 2017 12:52 PM | Anonymous

    Gary Rose MD has been a diver for over 40 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 is a member of the Divers Alert Network and The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. You can find him on weekends diving our local waters, shipwrecks and ledges.

  • August 15, 2017 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Stephen Kajiura's talk is entitled “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.

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