SeaKeepers is partnering with Far Away Projects in their vision of conducting Citizen Science research expeditions to help protect coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

This program would involve citizens in hands-on, cutting-edge scientific research. We propose to organize a research expedition with 10 SCUBA divers in the Florida Keys during 2023. The goal of the expedition will be to engage all of the participants in front-line scientific research. The research will be focused on the detection, quantification, and prevention of coral disease in the Florida Keys. Divers will be trained to systematically photograph the reef and take samples for water-quality analyses.


Research Program

This scientific research is the outgrowth of Dr. Jim Porter’s multi-decade career teaching, research, and policy advice on coral reef conservation in the Florida Keys. Discoveries from his research program have already saved coral in Key West. For this work, Dr. Porter received the 2020 Eminence in Research Award from the International Coral Reef Society. For his contributions to the Netflix Documentary, Chasing Coral, he received a 2017 Peabody Award and the 2018 Emmy Award for Best Nature Documentary

Sustainable Development Goals

Our research stations are all located in shallow water (no station is greater than 30’ and several stations are in less than 6’) and in places where Dr. Porter has worked for more than 40 years. The ease of access and shallowness of many of these patch reef sites means that full science team participation is possible. Expedition members will be fully immersed in all aspects of this coral reef conservation project. There will be several evening lectures which will provide context and detail for our reef investigations. Everyone will participate in the in-water work, sample processing, and computer analyses after we return to shore. With their hands-on participation and generous donations, participants are making possible a continuation of this National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health funded research. By their involvement, donor-participants are advancing both coral reef science and coral reef protection for one of the most biodiverse, and yet critically endangered ecosystems on Earth.

Diver certification or recertification will be available prior to each expedition for those wishing to receive advanced SCUBA training.

The Florida Keys Seascape Itinerary

Please note that participants are not required to commit to the full seven days of programming. Participants can choose selected days based on availability.


  • Arrival at the Reef House Hotel on Key Largo
  • Buffet dinner at the Reef House Hotel in the French Conference Room at 5:00 PM
  • Dinner Talk # 1 – Dr. James Porter will set the stage for the coming week


  • Dive at Horseshoe Reef & Grecian Rocks
  • Science Dives 1 & 2 (First dive Includes check-out dive & buoyancy control training)
  • Lunch on boat (Box lunch provided by Reef House Hotel)
  • Dinner on your own


  • Horseshoe Reef -Surveys and sample collection
  • Science Dives 3 & 4 (Photogrammetry, Sea urchin surveys, & WQ sampling)
  • Lunch on boat – Box lunch provided by Reef House Hotel
  • Buffet dinner at the Reef House Hotel in the Carysfort Conference Room
  • Dinner Talk # 2 – Dr. Porter will present his Emmy-Winning documentary, Chasing Coral with Audience Q & A


  • Coral Restoration Foundation
  • Science Dives 4 & 5 (Restoring an Endangered Species)
  • Morning: Classroom exercise at CRF headquarters, Key Largo on planting coral.
  • Picknick Lunch on the road to Tavernier
  • Science Dive 4: Collect Acropora from a CRF “Propagation Tree”
  • Science Dive 5: Plant Acropora specimens on Restoration Reef
  • Dinner on your own


  • Visit Key West
  • Behind the scenes tour of Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum
  • Visit Key West Aquarium
  • Visit Hemmingway House
  • Dinner @ Blue Heaven Restaurant


  • Horseshoe Reef
  • Science Dives 6 & 7 (Equipment retrieval and final sampling)
  • Box lunch provided by Reef House Hotel
  • Buffet dinner at the Reef House Hotel in the French Conference Room
  • Dinner Talk # 3 – Dr. Porter “Bombs Away! Removing Underwater Unexploded Ordnance from Coral Reefs in Puerto Rico and Hawaii


  • Breakfast/Departure
  • To permit flying on Saturday, dives on Friday will be in the morning and will be < 25 feet.

Contact Information

Jim Porter

Meigs Distinguished Professor at University of Georgia

[email protected]

(706) 207-5177

Jake McGrew

Executive Director of TNT

[email protected]

(802) 356-2836