CCMI hires coral restoration expert

| 12/04/2016
CNS Local Life

Dr Steve Whalan

(CNS): Dr Steve Whalan recently joined the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) as a Senior Research Scientist with expertise in coral reef ecology. Dr Whalan brings a vast amount of knowledge and skills to CCMI, an institute that has won awards through the National Science Foundation and the UK Darwin Initiative. His research has unraveled some of the mysteries of reproduction, larval ecology and population genetics of coral reef sponges.

Dr Whalan has also researched deep sea biodiversity, environmental impacts on coral reef invertebrates, and bath sponge aquaculture. More recently, he has been investigating the use of novel artificial surfaces to optimize coral larval recruitment as means to aid coral reef restoration.

Dr. Whalan has hit the ground running with his appointment at CCMI. “It is a pleasure to work with the exceptional team of scientists at CCMI.   They are making phenomenal inroads to our understanding of coral reef resilience, and methods  that aid coral reef restoration, both of which are pivotal for marine conservation  in the Cayman Islands, and the wider Caribbean,” he said.

Coral reefs are the world’s most threatened ecosystem, and part of CCMI’s mandate is to conduct research that focuses on reef resilience.  Little Cayman was chosen by Dr Carrie Manfrino, founder and President of CCMI, because the reefs around Little Cayman are among the most biologically diverse reef systems in the Caribbean, and one of the very few locations in the world showing positive coral reef regeneration.

Dr Manfrino welcomed Dr Whalan to CCMI by saying, “We are inspired to push forward with our work because of the serious environmental issues we are increasingly facing globally:  climate change, ocean acidification, threats to endangered species, as well as the issues of reef restoration faced locally in the Cayman Islands. Dr Whalan will provide additional strength to our team at CCMI as we continue to work towards further developing our understanding of processes that contribute to reef resilience.”

Dr Whalan has held a number of post-doctoral fellowships in leading Australian organizations including, James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Southern Cross University where he has conducted research throughout Australia, the Philippines and Norway.

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