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Project AWARE Fish Identification Specialty

Learn to properly identify the creatures that you see underwater

This course is designed to introduce divers to the most common families and species of fish found in temperate and cold waters. Divers learn basic fish identification and scientific surveying techniques. Through an overview of Project AWARE and other preservation and research efforts, such as the REEF Fish Survey Project, divers also learn the importance of personal involvement in aquatic environment conservation.

This program in conjunction with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) teaches the diver about Protecting Marine Life Through Education, Service, and Research.  REEF was founded in 1990, out of growing concern about the health of the marine environment, and the desire to provide the SCUBA diving community a way to contribute to the understanding and protection of marine populations. REEF achieves this goal primarily through its volunteer fish monitoring program, the REEF Fish Survey Project. Participants in the Project not only learn about the environment they are diving in, but they also produce valuable information. Scientists, marine park staff, and the general public use the data that are collected by REEF volunteers. Want to know more about the Fish Survey Project and the data that are collected? Visit the Survey Project page to learn more about the Project, the survey methodology, and how the Project data are used.

The course is made up of two open water dives and a classroom session. 

  • The AWARE - Fish Identification Diver course includes two open water training dives. The first dive allows divers to practice basic fish and invertebrate life identification techniques
  • The second dive prompts divers to collect fish and invertebrate life identification data for submission to the REEF Fish Survey Project.
  • Training dives may be conducted at night for divers who have completed the Night Diving Course or have qualifying night diving experience.
  • The Project AWARE philosophy about protecting worldwide aquatic ecosystems is discussed
  • Fish and invertebrate life family groupings and common characteristics of fish and invertebrate life species found in the local area. 
  • Fish and invertebrate life surveying techniques and strategies for collecting valid data.
  • The planning, organization, and procedures for identifying fish and invertebrate life families and species while diving.

These are just a few of the topics that you'll learn during the Fish Identification course.

Prerequisites are Open Water Diver AND some cold water diving experience. In addition you will find that your ability to control your buoyancy will significantly enhance your underwater surveys.  If your not sure about yours, you might consider taking the Peak Performance Buoyancy Clinic prior to this class.

Course Cost is $125 and includes all materials, the class time, and the open water dives.  By this point in a divers training it is important that a student begins to obtain their own equipment (rentals are available but having your own gear is preferred).  A dive light and a slate are essential for a student to have while surveying aquatic life habits, but are not included in the course fee.



The Learning Materials Included

AWARE’s Our World Our Water includes a section on identifying reef fish based on body shape and habitat. You’ll also learn about marine life indigenous to tidal zones, polar regions, kelp forests, and wetlands. Our World Our Water also includes a five page glossary of terminology used by marine biologists. In addition you'll get copies of Reef.org survey forms to help the world wide efforts to survey our underwater realm.





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Last modified: December 10, 2013