Sri Lanka research may help mitigate impact of rising seas

| 18/03/2016
CNS Local Life

Dr Carrie Manfrino

(CNS): Carrie Manfrino, the president of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute who last year was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to research rising sea levels, is investigating how that issue affects Sri Lanka and potentially use what she learns to help the Cayman Islands. The study is looking at “Rising Sea Levels in the Indian Ocean: Evaluating Nature-Based Solutions for Reducing Vulnerabilities of Sri Lanka’s Coastal Villages”.

Due to her extensive work in the Cayman Islands, which began in the mid-1990s, including the development of CCMI in 2004, Manfrino explained she will be able to draw immediate comparisons between her findings in Sri Lanka and what she has seen in the Cayman Islands.

“Coastal communities, including those here in the Cayman Islands are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels,” she said. “The work in Sri Lanka will examine the potential for local nature-based solutions to reduce the impact of rising sea levels.

“As the sea level rises, coral reefs, mangroves, and beaches can aggrade and either catch up or keep up with rising sea levels. These natural ecosystems, therefore, offer a significant line of defence for coastal communities. Alternatively, the rates of sea-level rise may outpace the relative capacity for coastal ecosystems to keep up to the rising sea level, making them especially vulnerable. We need to be aware of and monitor this carefully.”

In Sri Lanka, a range of coastal and shallow marine habitats will be surveyed to develop an understanding of current and future risks of rising sea levels, a press release from CCMI explained. Results will inform efforts to improve protection of mangroves, reefs and other coastal habitats as natural defences to climate change in Sri Lanka with many applications to the Cayman Islands.

For more information on the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, visit its website

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Category: Marine Environment

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