The purpose at Reef Expeditions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to educate and train scuba divers, new and experienced, on the ecology and biology of coral reef ecosystems with focus on volunteer assistance for in situ habitat conservation, research and community outreach.
We teach students the importance of coral reefs in relation to our oceans and continental coastlines. Identify the inhabitants and their niche on the reef. Document the importance and the prognosis of specific reef systems if the indigenous species were to decline due to natural or man-made causes.
By creating partnerships with universities, businesses and other non-profit organizations we foster a community of like-minded individuals whose intent and purpose is to help save our reef systems through cooperation and resource sharing. By working together we create short and long term goals that will aid in the foundation of volunteers, businesses, universities and conservation groups to help one another obtain the best long-term results.
Lastly, by using established research methods and protocols for underwater exploration, observation, data collection, removal of invasive flora/fauna and restoration of indigenous species, which benefit both the reef ecosystems, surrounding habitats and local governments through increased tourism.
Board of Directors & Advisors
Reef Expeditions Founder, CEO and Course Instructor
James has a degree in Biology from the University of Cincinnati, with a focus in Coral Reef Ecology. During this time his love of scuba diving and passion for the environment took hold and he has never looked back. James has an impressive array of dive certifications and is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor.
Board Member and Course Instructor
Leesa is originally from Minnesota (land of ten thousand lakes)
In 1973 along with her husband Claude, bought into International Divers, a scuba operation specializing in commercial and sport diving. International Divers became AQUARIUS DIVE SHOP which she has run and managed for 37 years.
Lisa became a PADI scuba instructor in 1973 and a PADI Master Instructor in 1980. Leesa has certified some 2000 PADI suba divers to date. She has also escorted over 250 scuba tours in the US and throughout the world. Trips included Bonaire, the Bahamas, Mexico, Truk Lagoon, Saba, Tahiti, Palau, Yap, Fiji, Maldives, Vancouver Island, the Galapagos Islands, the Philippines, Honduras, Curacao. At Silver Banks she snorkeled with Hump Back Whales, and while in the Azores with Sperm Whales. On many of these trips were co-led with individuals from the Museum of Natural History, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium.
Leesa is also a member of Capt. Don's Accolade group and volunteer's at both the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium.
Chairman of the Board
Jamie Green has over four decades of diving and underwater photography experience and has been involved with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Volunteer Education Board and Manatee Springs SCUBA diving program for many years. In addition, she has worked with various non-profits for over 30 years assisting with 501(c)(3) formation, strategic planning, marketing and fundraising with experience managing multi-million dollar budgets. She currently serves on the board of several charitable organizations whose mission is to help individuals or families in need or whose mission is to serve those with developmental disability.
Randy is a retired financial service veteran of more than 41 years, working in branch management, retail/consumer lending and servicing operations management and project and vendor management, both on shore and off-shore. He attended Jacksonville University majoring in Business Administration.
Randy began his diving career in 1995 in Jacksonville, having visited reefs in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific which include Hawaii and Fiji. He is currently PADI certified as a Rescue Diver and has been a dive volunteer at the Cincinnati Zoo for more than 5 years.
Allan is a marketing executive based in Cincinnati, Ohio. His passion for diving began in 2008 and is a PADI Divemaster. Allan also enjoys being a volunteer diver at the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium.
"I am very honored to assist this fantastic organization. As diving professionals, we understand first hand how important ocean conservation is to our planet, in particular, our coral reef ecosystems. Through education, participation, and proper stewardship we can make a lasting difference."
Charles Grossman, Ph.D.
Dr. Grossman, originally from New York City received his Ph.D. (Physiology-Endocrinology) from the University of Cincinnati in 1977. He is currently a Professor, Department of Biology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Grossman has contributed to countless journals and is a published author. His collaborative arrangements include direct on-site research at the Cincinnati and Columbus zoos in Ohio involving manatee behaviors to acoustical stimuli. Also current research involving off-site acoustical feeds from the Cincinnati Zoo and Columbus Zoo and from Homosassa Springs Animal Park, Homosassa Florida and from the Parker Aquarium, South Florida Museum in Bradenton Florida. Dr. Grossman is also an active member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of University Professors.
Allison Calhoun, Ph.D.
Dr. Allison Calhoun is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Whitman College with a focus on Physical Chemistry. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology education and her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Georgia. Over the past four years, she developed a new research agenda connecting her love of calcium carbonate with the mechanisms by which corals precipitate their skeletons. After completing diving certification through PADI and the AAUS she led two field work expeditions to the island of Moorea in the French Polynesian islands. The samples collected during these trips are currently under investigation in the laboratory via multiple techniques including Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The combination
of these analyses are leading to a greater understanding of how corals create their exoskeleton.
David Meyer, Ph.D.
Dr. David Meyer is received his Ph.D. in Geology from Yale University in 1971. He is currently McMicken Professor of Geology (Emeritus), with the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Meyer received his Advanced Diving certification in 1977 and has ventured on expeditions all over the world. Some of those include Smithsonian Institution Expedition to Malpelo Island. Rumphius II Expedition to the Moluccas, sponsored by the Indonesian National Institute of Oceanology. University of California Research Expedition to Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, co-leader. And R. V. "Lady Basten", Australian Institute of Marine Science, Chief Scientist, 5 day expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. He was also lead research studies on coral reef ecosystems through his career. Courses he has taught include Invertebrate Paleontology, Paleoecology, Historical Geology, Field seminar in ancient and modern carbonate environments, Graduate seminar in paleontology, Geology and biology of coral reefs, and Age of Dinosaurs.