Save the Reefs, Save the Oceans Gala    
  Please join us on Thursday, September 15th to celebrate the reefs and oceans! Reef Check's 2016 Gala will be on the beach at the Jonathan Beach Club in SantaMonica. Once again, the evening will feature amazing music by DreamVacation, unique auction items, delicious food, complimentary Myers’s Rum Platinum White cocktails, and a chance to meet our honorees and some of the thousands of volunteer Reef Check EcoDivers who monitor Californian and tropical reefs as part of the Reef Check Foundation's citizen scientist programs. We would love to see you there!

For additional information please call Reef Check at 310.305.4622 or email

Sponsorship, auction, and advertising opportunities are available.
  Honoring our 2016 Heroes of the Reef  
  Poseidon Award
In appreciation of his dedication to marine science and conservation in California and around the world through his conservation books and work with the Resources Legacy Fund, Center for Marine Conservation and the California Fish and Game Commission

Michael Weber
Resources Legacy Fund

Since 2006, Michael Weber has served as Program Officer for Oceans, Coasts and Fisheries at the Resources Legacy Fund in Sacramento, California, where he has developed and overseen programs on coastal and marine conservation in California, sustainable fisheries in California and abroad, and the design and implementation of California’s network of marine protected areas. In 1980-1990, he directed domestic and international programs on marine protected areas, sea turtle conservation, and fisheries conservation at the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington, DC. In 1990-1994, Michael served as Special Assistant to the Director of the National Marine Fisheries Services in the U.S. Department of Commerce. In May 1994, he began consulting with governmental and non-governmental organizations on a wide range of topics, including marine aquaculture, sustainable fisheries standards, international treaties, coastal development and pollution. In 1999-2003, he served as the Marine Advisor to the California Fish and Game Commission in implementation of the Marine Life Management Act, California’s principal ocean fisheries law.

In 1995, W.W. Norton published The Wealth of Oceans, which Michael wrote with the Smithsonian’s Judith Gradwohl. In 2002, Island Press published From Abundance to Scarcity: A History of U.S. Marine Fisheries Policy. Michael has also written dozens of articles and reports on marine conservation, and has advised in the production of television specials and exhibits on marine conservation.

Michael was born and raised in Hawthorne, California. His love of the oceans began with exploring the tide pools of Palos Verdes with his older brother and deepened in the 1970s with campaigns against commercial whaling. In 1974, he received a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley with honors in Greek and Latin Literature. His love of language continues now with Italian. Michael lives in Sacramento with his wife, Frances Spivy-Weber.

  Reef Stewardship Award
In appreciation of his founding of Biosphere Expeditions, which has inspired adventurers including Reef Check divers, to protect and conserve the environment for over 15 years

Matthias Hammer
Biosphere Expeditions

Biosphere Expeditions was founded in 1999 by Dr. Matthias Hammer. Born in Germany, he went to school there, before joining the Army, and serving for several years amongst other units with the German Parachute Regiment. After active service he came to the UK and was educated at St Andrews, Oxford and Cambridge. During his time at university he either organized or was involved in the running of several expeditions, some of which were conservation expeditions (for example to the Brazil Amazon and Madagascar), whilst others were mountaineering/climbing expeditions (for example to the Russian Caucasus, the Alps or the Rocky Mountains). With Biosphere Expeditions he has led teams all over the globe. He is a qualified wilderness medical officer, ski instructor, mountain leader, divemaster and survival skills instructor. Once a rower on the international circuit, he is now an amateur marathon runner and Ironman triathlete. Biosphere Expeditions is a long-time partner of Reef Check, offering dive trips to Malaysia, Oman and the Maldives.

  Hero of the Reef Award
In honor of his founding and managing of Reef Check Malaysia for 10 years and his service as Reef Check Regional Coordinator for the Pacific

Julian Hyde
Reef Check Malaysia

Julian is British, but has been living overseas since 1992. He is a scientist by training, with a degree in biochemistry. He worked for several years as a management consultant, including six years in Russia managing a variety of environmental consulting programmes. He moved to Malaysia in 1998, initially managing an environmental consulting company in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Tioman Island to pursue his dream of running his own dive centre, which he did for six years. It was during that time that he became interested in Reef Check.

In 2006 he moved back to Kuala Lumpur to pursue other business opportunities. Having raised some seed funding, he worked with a team to establish Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) as a registered NGO in Malaysia. Since then he has continued to raise funds for the organisation and to develop its programmes which now include a national annual coral reef survey programme, education programmes for schools, community-based projects and reef rehabilitation programmes.

This year marks 10 years of operations for RCM. During that time the annual survey programme has grown to cover over 200 sites, and RCM has established close relationships with relevant government agencies involved in reef management. In particular, it is helping the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia to change its approach to managing its Marine Parks, with more emphasis on community engagement and participation.

  Hero of the Reef Award
In honor of his founding and managing of Reef Check Dominican Republic since 2004 and his service as Reef Check Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean

Ruben Torres
Reef Check Dominican Republic

Dr. Ruben Torres is the Caribbean Regional Coordinator for Reef Check and the founder and President of Reef Check Dominican Republic. Ruben has a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Miami and a B.Sc. in Biology from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. In 2004, Ruben founded Reef Check Dominican Republic. He is also the founder and CEO of Torres Environmental Consulting (TEC Unlimited), member of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Lionfish Committee and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and mentor for the Caribbean Marine Protected Area Managers Network of the United Nations Environmental Programme. Ruben is a PADI certified diving instructor.

  Citizen Scientist of the Year Award
In recognition of his dedication to marine conservation as a Reef Check California volunteer diver since 2010. A regular on surveys, Keith has made more than 180 survey dives for Reef Check.

Keith Rootsaert
Reef Check California Volunteer Diver

Keith Rootsaert was first certified as a NAUI Scuba diver in 1984 and became a Reef Check volunteer diver in 2010. In 2014 he improved his certification to PADI Dive Master in order to become a contract trainer for Reef Check. He has logged over 800 dives (187 of those with Reef Check) mostly in California, and is dive coordinator and past president of the Monterey Bay Sea Otters Dive Club. Performing the most transects in a year, he was awarded the Reef Check Central California Golden Slate Award 3 times and has recruited new volunteers as a member of the Speakers Bureau. During the week he is a mild mannered project manager at Salas O’Brien Engineers. Inc. supervising the design and construction of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems at commercial, industrial, and educational facilities. Keith and his wife Leslie live in Aromas, California, but he considers Monterey his “home port” partly due to his boat in the harbor named Reef Encounter.