In this age of climate change and other threats to its healthy existence, Cayman’s fragile ecosystem needs protecting like never before, so the Central Caribbean Marine Institute has launched an information campaign to explain the importance of keeping our reefs pristine. Beginning last year and continuing on into 2020, the CCMI’s ‘We need Healthy Reefs’ campaign is ramping up, starting with their first lecture of this year which will be one of three held in Grand Cayman.
The first lecture will be presented by Dr Anya Brown, collaborative scientist from the University of Florida, entitled ‘Coral Health: from microbes to branches’ and will be held on Tuesday, 21st January 2020 at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in the Dart Auditorium. The University of Florida and CCMI have had a long relationship, having developed projects together on the invasive lionfish and coral restoration since 2009. Dr Brown is part of the collaborative UF/CCMI team investigating the various aspects of coral reproduction and resiliency, including out-planting survival techniques, spawning and resilience to disease and bleaching.
Dr Brown recently received her PhD from the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia and she studied marine biology at Brown University. As well as to the Cayman Islands, her research has taken her to Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia, California and French Polynesia.
In a statement, the CCMI explained more about the presentation: “Healthy corals are critical for sustaining reefs. Corals are in a tightly coupled relationship between bacteria (like in your gut!), microscopic algae, and the coral animal itself. This seminar will focus on trade-offs between types of coral growth, a coral disease outbreak, and what clues the microbes on corals tell us about their health,” they explained.
Located on Little Cayman, the CCMI works to protect healthy coral reefs and vibrant oceans for the future, and it will continue this work in 2020. Their ‘We Need Healthy Reefs’ campaign, which started in 2019 as ‘We Love Heathy Reefs’, has a new message in 2020: ‘We Need Healthy Reefs’. This year the CCMI’s message will focus more on why healthy coral reefs are critical to the well-being of the oceans and the Cayman Islands.
The CCMI gave some more background to these latest efforts to inform: “This effort complements the growth of CCMI’s research programme through our Vision 2025 efforts, where we increase our efforts to unlock the secrets of coral resiliency and solidify the state of our reefs as being among the healthiest in the Caribbean – and among the healthiest in the world,” they explained. “CCMI will continue important reef health assessments and coral monitoring field work while also providing valuable education and outreach experiences to engage the community and inspire action for Cayman’s coral reefs. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in events and activities, many of which are free, in order to enhance their knowledge about coral reefs and their importance as a marine ecosystem.
The Reef Lecture will begin at 5:45 pm, and it will conclude at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at: http://donate.reefresearch.org/coralhealth2020.
For more information about CCMI, upcoming events, and how to help protect our reefs, visit www.reefresearch.org.