Reef Smart Education FREE marine ecology seminars

Dr. Alex Brylske, director of Reef Smart Education, will provide the following free seminars to the dive industry this year.

Dive operators and other organizations interested in having Dr. Brylske present to their network of divers and snorkelers can select seminars from the following list and contact to arrange a time and place (online or in-person) for the event. Each seminar is approximately one hour in duration.
  1. Secrets of the Coral Reef This program explores the “shifting baseline” phenomenon and other aspects of coral ecology that are rarely addressed. It highlights how science is expanding its understanding of a wide range of issues, from coral physiology to resource management. Also explained are both ongoing and emerging threats to coral reefs and how divers can contribute to successful marine conservation efforts.
  2. Secrets of Coral Reef Fish(es) Expanding on the seminar, Secrets of the Coral Reef, this program is devoted exclusively to understanding some rarely addressed aspects of coral reef fishes. The discussion explores how “form drives function” along with how this relates to behavior. Also explained are recent insights into fish reproductive biology and the profound effects that overfishing can have on coral reef food webs.
  3. A Glimmer of Hope: Rebuilding Coral Reefs This seminar explores the development of coral restoration technologies and their evolution to the current state-of-the-art. It highlights a variety of programs around the world and the role recreational divers play in restoration activities though citizen science.
  4. Exploring Near Shore: Seagrass & Mangrove Communities While divers and snorkelers love coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove communities often go completely ignored. By understanding their function and importance, a diver’s underwater experience can be enhanced. This seminar examines the ecological roll of seagrass meadows and mangrove forests, introduces the primary community members, and explains why these near-shore communities are so vital to the health of coral reefs.
  5. What Makes a Shark a Shark? This seminar examines why sharks are such a unique group of fishes. Topics examined include why sharks don’t have bones, the distinct adaptations that have for living in seawater, why some sharks are “warm-blooded,” their amazing electro-sensitivity and their mammalian-like reproductive mode.
  6. In the Jaws of Extinction This seminar examines why sharks are vital components of a healthy marine ecosystem, and what happens when sharks are removed from it. The discussion highlights just why shark populations are in decline and why this is so detrimental to both the environment and human well-being. Topics include how humans benefit from sharks, the conservation status of major shark species, and why sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing.
  7. Fluoro Diving: A New Way to Experience the Reef “Fluoro diving”—night diving with ultraviolet lights—literally lights up an entirely new underwater world. This seminar explains the science behind biofluorescence and how it is contributing to a deeper understanding of coral reef ecology. The program is an excellent pre-dive experience when scheduled immediately prior to a night dive.
  8. Diving Safety Myths & Misconceptions This program takes an in-depth look at ten common myths about diving physiology and safety. It explores the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding decompression models and resulting safety assumptions, the physiology of decompression sickness and its treatment, safety guidelines and procedures, and how the relative risk of scuba diving has changed over the years. The seminar content is based on the latest DAN (Diver Alert Network) research findings.
  9. Dive Safety: New Insights and Fresh Perspectives This presentation examines some of the cutting edge, and most interesting, areas of diving physiology, how they impact safety and how they may change diving practices. Topics include: fatal accident analysis; analysis of out-of-air emergencies; how diving affects breathing efficiency; why fitness is important in scuba diving; how aging may affect divers; divers and heart disease; and the gender question. Like the previous program, the seminar content is based on the latest research findings.
Dr. Alex Brylske, Director of Reef Smart Education
These one-hour seminars can be presented live online by Dr. Brylske, or in-person for organizations on the east coast of Florida, under an expense-sharing arrangement. To schedule a FREE Reef Smart Education seminars, or learn more about this opportunity, please E mail: or call: +1-514-448-4771. About Dr. Alex Brylske: Dr. Alex Brylske is a dive industry veteran, educator and marine conservation biologist with decades of experience. During the 1980s, Brylske was the educational program development manager for PADI, where he designed and wrote many of the programs and materials used around the world today to train divers of all levels. He recently retired as Professor of Marine Science at the College of the Florida Keys. He was also Sustainability Editor for both Dive Training Magazine and the trade journal, Dive Center Business. His numerous honors range from NOAA’s Walter B. Jones Memorial Excellence Award for Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to the 2012 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year, one of the most prestigious awards in diving.
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