US scientists land in Little Cayman

Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory are presenting a series of lectures in Little Cayman this summer. 

The talks will be for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s staff and undergraduate students participating in summer research at the institute’s Little Cayman Research Centre. 

Every summer, CCMI hosts undergraduate students who work with mentors to conduct research projects relating to topics such as coral reef stress, climate change, ocean acidification and coral reef resilience and restoration. 

The aim of the lecture series, which began at the end of June and runs through Aug. 7, is to assist students to develop and implement their own research projects, organizers said. Topics in the series include “Interactions between ocean health and human health,” “Science to inform ecosystem-based management” and “Sloshing and mixing between reef and ocean: Physical processes impacting connectivity and thermal biogeochemical variability for Cayman corals.” 

The visiting researchers will also work with CCMI scientists to study reefs surrounding Little Cayman, collecting data that could help monitor environmental threats to the reefs. The data will also assist other research projects on the Little Cayman reefs, including those focused on constructing a global climate record using core samples, connecting water conditions to algal growth on the reefs, and investigating why some reefs are more resilient than others over small distances. 

According to a CCMI press release, the reefs on Little Cayman are particularly important to coral reef scientists because they are largely untouched and unaffected by human development. 

Researchers are giving lectures on oceanographic subjects at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s Little Cayman Research Centre.