Little Cayman Research Centre gets grant for expansion

CCMI's Little Cayman Research Centre

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute has received a grant to double the number of visiting scientists and students who can stay at the Little Cayman Research Centre.

The U.S. National Science Foundation gave the research center a grant of more than $230,000 to renovate the center’s main building to double the accommodations, update the dining room and bathhouse, and upgrade windows and doors to better withstand hurricanes and other adverse weather.

CCMI President Carrie Manfrino said in a press release, “One example of how these renovations will positively impact our operations is that we expect these improvements will add up to two hours a day of field, lab and class work through streamlining the capacity to serve meals and accommodate more people on site.

“This will help support our goal of developing early career scientists and foster the pursuit of scientific discovery that culminates in present and future generations of active environmental stewards.”

The research center on Little Cayman serves as a field station for scientists and students from the U.S. and elsewhere to study coral reefs.

The research center is an important asset for scientists, according to the grant application, because “the low population density and well-established marine protected areas” around the island allow scientists to study coral reefs that have not had significant direct impacts from humans.

In its grant application, the institute writes that research at the field station “has led to major breakthroughs, including the discovery of new marine invertebrates, improved understanding of low light reefs” and other scientific advancements.