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Funds pledged for CCMI research

| 22/07/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

A CREWS2 buoy

(CNS): A local law firm has announced its financial support for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s (CCMI) long-term monitoring programme (LAMP) and major maintenance of their Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS2).

Stuarts Walkers Hersant Humphries, which has pledged $15,000 to CCMI, has been a major contributor to the local not-for-profit with chairman Andrew Hersant and managing director Chris Humphries serving on the board of trustees for the institute.

The LAMP programme has enabled CCMI to collect data on fish abundance, algae, and coral cover since 1999, providing essential historical data aiding the understanding of how coral reefs are changing over time, and identifying drivers of change.

CCMI’s CREWS2 system, initially supported by the Dart Foundation, is a NOAA-designed oceanographic system that sends out timely alerts about threats to the coral reefs and allows the researchers to assess the impact of these threats. Bleaching alerts, for example, trigger immediate surveys so that the team can track stress to the corals and report recovery from temperature stress.

First installed in 2009, it is the only oceanographic buoy in the Cayman Islands and one of only two such systems in the world, according to NOAA’s Dr. Karsten Shein. The integration of the CREWS2 and LAMP programmes has aided numerous research publications and helped to build an improved awareness of the importance of maintaining and protecting coral reefs.

“The data we are able to collect via our CREWS and LAMP programmes is important to understanding and protecting coral reefs locally and globally,” said Dr. Carrie Manfrino, CCMI president. “We are very grateful to Stewarts Walkers Hersant Humphries for their ongoing support, and for donating to these programmes.”

This type of responsiveness has informed the group’s work on coral reef resilience, has helped to develop a coral bleaching threshold model that predicts future episodes of stress, and has enabled researchers to demonstrate that some coral reefs are capable of recovering from severe global climate stress events.

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