CCMI researches best conditions for coral

| 21/12/2016 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life

Coral nursery in Little Cayman

(CNS Local Life): The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) in Little Cayman has begun a study on why some corals are resilient and others are in decline. The research will focus on improving the methods of coral restoration so that corals will begin reproducing in the wild. Data on temperature and light as well as fish populations on the coral reefs will also be gathered to determine those conditions optimal for growth and survival of these regenerated corals.

CCMI said in a press release that its scientists hope to use the information that is gathered to improve the restoration success rate of the most endangered Caribbean coral species.

Funding for this project has been awarded to CCMI by the UK-based Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, which was established in 1963 and supports its founder’s passion for conserving wildlife and the natural environment, and is insistent on funding those projects that will “make a difference”.

Dr Carrie Manfrino, CCMI president, said she was grateful for the trust’s confidence in the project. “The coral reefs around Little Cayman are exceptional in that they have demonstrated resilience over long periods of time,” she said. “It is with this funding from the Ernest Kleinwort Trust that we can really start digging into the ‘why’ and hopefully use that information to be able to regenerate coral reefs that are dead or dying elsewhere in the Caribbean and around the world.”

Restoration is the process of establishing new fragments of corals in a temporary nursery setting. After a period of six to nine months in the nursery, the corals are re-established, or “out-planted” on the reef.

CCMI established the first coral-restoration programme in the Cayman Islands in partnership with the Department of Environment in 2012.  In the last three years, more than 1,000 new fragments of corals have been re-established in the wild. This new project builds upon this experience with a forward-looking philosophy that seeks to unlock the mystery of why some corals thrive and some are in decline.

Both the Dart and Grindle foundations are also funding the project through their sponsorship of the intern who is working on the study, with Sea of Change as well financially supporting the initiative.

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Category: Marine Environment

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