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Historic Expeditions    Secrets of the Gulf Expedition


From 1996-2016, Down Under, Out Yonder (DUOY) was an educator workshop and scuba field experience that introduced educators to the sanctuary, coral reefs, reef fish identification and ocean conservation.

The field experience was a dive trip to the Flower Garden and Stetson banks on a live-aboard dive charter. During the dive trip, workshop participants explored the sanctuary and conducted fish surveys to add to a database of knowledge about which species are present in what quantities.

Heading of the REEF fish survey form that includes outline images of several reef fish.
Workshop participants completed 30 fish surveys and
identified 79 different species during their field experience.

This workshop created a memorable, hands-on experience that educators took back to their classrooms as well as museums, aquariums, and other informal education sites.

A photo of the entire DUOY 2016 group, including dive leaders, and instructors on the top deck of M/V FLING
This year's group included educators from Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Connecticut and California. (Image: FGBNMS)

Workshop funding and coordination were provided by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. Workshop instruction and activities were provided by sanctuary staff and guest speakers.

Five men/women standing arm in arm on the top deck of M/V FLING
A great group of Dive Leaders helped make this trip successful for participants with varying dive skill levels. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

For a full range of activities and lesson plans, please visit our
For Teachers page.

Images from the last workshop, held in 2016, can be viewed below. Additional workshop images are also available:

Click on a picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS

DUOY 2016, Day 1 - Corals and Coral Reefs

Teachers modeling a coral colony with gloved hands and closed eyes as an instructor dangles gummy worms overhead for them to try and catch
As part of the Coral Up Close activity teachers learned to feed like corals using their tentacles (fingers) to catch dangling gummy worms. (Image: FGBNMS)

A teacher pouring water from a small watering can over sand and sponges in a plastic container to simulate rain runoff
Sand, sponges and other materials were used to create a simulated coastal habitat to demonstrate runoff issues. (Image: FGBNMS)

Three teachers looking at a time series of reef photos laid out on the floor
The Reef Monitoring lesson helped teachers learn about monitoring techniques and how to analyze a series of reef photos to note changes over time. (Image: FGBNMS)
DUOY 2016, Day 2 - REEF Fish Identification
and Invasive Lionfish
Teachers standing in front of an aquarium viewing panel to practice fish identification
Day 2 started with a REEF fish identification class that was followed by a visit to the Aquarium at Moody Gardens for practice. This visit to the South Pacific exhibit allowed teachers to practice identifying fish families.
(Image: FGBNMS)
Kelly (right) pointing at fish in the Caribbean aquarium exhibit as two teachers (to her left) look on.
Next stop was the Caribbean exhibit to do identification at the species level. Kelly (right) quizzed teachers on different fish as they swam by.
(Image: FGBNMS)
Teachers sitting on benches at either side of a glass tunnel that passes through the Caribbean exhibit at Moody Gardens
Group photo at the end of the Caribbean exhibit tunnel at the conclusion of fish ID practice. (Image: FGBNMS)
A FISHO playing board (like a BINGO board but with fish names on it) with Goldfish crackers used to mark fish names that have already been called
A rousing game of FISH-O helped teachers practice fish ID some more after their visit to Moody Gardens. (Image: FGBNMS)
Jennifer standing in the middle of a room with teachers circled around her as she explains a game
At the end of the day, following a discussion about invasive lionfish, teachers learned a lionfish predation game led by volunteer Jennifer Idema. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
DUOY 2016, Days 3-5 - Diving in the Sanctuary
Charter dive boat M/V FLING dockside in Freeport, TX
M/V FLING, a 100 foot long dive charter vessel, was everyone's home for days 3-5 of the workshop. (Image: Jessie Harshbarger)
A smiling diver climbing up the ladder onto the boat after a dive.
Mandy Hildebrand was definitely pleased with her dive experience at East Flower Garden Bank. (Image: GOMF/Janene Fowler)
Six divers holding on to a mooring line underwater as they slowly surface.
Divers using the mooring line for their safety stop at the end of a dive. (Image: Jessie Harshbarger)
Four lionfish hovering above star coral on the reef at East Flower Garden Bank
The invasive lionfish lesson became real when divers spotted these four large lionfish hanging out in one spot on the reef.
(Image: Jessie Harshbarger)

Two divers swimming amid a cloud of fish at Stetson Bank
Teachers swimming through a swarm of fish at Stetson Bank. (Image: Jessie Harshbarger

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves