In March, Reef Check welcomed two additions to the California program staff:
Dillon Dolinar, based in San Diego, is the Southern California Volunteer Coordinator. Dillon has spent the last five years in Southern California where he attended San Diego State University and earned a Bachelor's degree in biology with an emphasis in zoology. The backbone of his college experience was built around his discovery of scuba diving. He became a scuba instructor roughly two years after discovering his passion and has enjoyed every minute exploring the underwater world whether that is guiding tours or conducting research. Throughout his college experience, he worked abroad in South Africa studying Great White Shark behavior and in Honduras studying the diet of invasive Lionfish. However, most of his time in the ocean has taken place in Southern California waters ranging from Catalina Island to San Diego, which is where he feels the most at home.
Maxwell Seale, based in Monterey Bay, is the Central Coast Volunteer Coordinator. Maxwell received his Bachelors in Marine Science from the California State University, Monterey Bay. Before beginning his work with Reef Check, he founded the Underwater Voyagers Dive Club in Monterey, California that now hosts several hundred Central Coast divers. Maxwell has spent the past several years conducting subtidal field surveys as an AAUS Scientific Diver. At Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, he spent two field seasons as part of a team of divers researching kelp forest community and oceanography. In his final year of college, Maxwell completed his capstone project leading numerous fish transects at multiple Reef Check survey sites spanning the coast of California. Maxwell also served as a scientific consultant for a satellite tag manufacturer, tracking the movement of pelagic predators and testing experimental hydrophones used to monitor whale migration. He also worked on piloting the use of experimental sonar based fishing equipment to end the whale entanglement crisis. He has nine years of experience in marine science education and outreach. When he is not working, Maxwell spends his days diving in Big Sur and volunteering as a scientific mentor for Bechtel Education Center's Teen Researchers Program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Above all else, he is passionately driven by the urgency of California's declining kelp forests. Both are looking forward to getting in the water with our incredible team of citizen scientists!