[Coral-List] Little Cayman Research Centre

CCMI manager at reefresearch.org
Mon May 21 17:27:17 EDT 2012

Hi Coral-List Members:
I would like to introduce the laboratory and research facilities at the Little Cayman Research Centre to those of you who are not already aware of the field station. The facility was opened in 2006 and has continued to grow and expand with excellent laboratories and equipment, diving facilities, and a small boat fleet all located on 1400ft of beach front property.  We are a full service field station with accommodations for up to 24 researchers/students, a cook, and support staff.  The three laboratories are equipped for wet and dry experiments with flowing sea water and climate control capabilities.  The facility is a project of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, an international non-governmental organization with a US base in Princeton, NJ and Caribbean base in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, and with U.K. non-profit status.  The Little Cayman Research Centre is home to a Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) pylon in partnership with NOAA-AOML which has been providing continuous near real-time environmental information via the internet since 2009.  Please visit our website: http://reefresearch.org
We are announcing the following NEW opportunities for scientists and graduate students to establish research at Little Cayman. Please contact manager at reefresearch.org for additional information.
1.            Three day site visits at reduced rates for new researchers to Little Cayman.
2.            Reduced rates during our off season (mid- August – January 15). 
3.            Collaborative agreements with scientists to incubate new research that will lead to joint grant funding and publications.
About Little Cayman –
Little Cayman is the smallest of three islands (11 sq. mi) within the Cayman Islands, situated 150 miles south of Cuba and 460 miles south of Miami, Florida. It is considered one of the least developed and most highly protected Caribbean islands with less than 200 permanent residents and low local fishing pressure. Little Cayman is a low-lying limestone island with no run-off or point-source pollution. The marine protected area system has been in place for 25 years and includes the Bloody Bay Marine Park, no-take marine reserves, replenishment zones and a RAMSAR site.  The economic and government stability of this U.K. overseas territory make Little Cayman an extraordinarily attractive site for scientists, graduate students, and field courses.
The water quality is excellent, there are over 350 species of fish, 37 species of coral, and shallow lagoon, wall, and deep ocean (several thousand meters) habitats are all within
swimming distance from the shore and from the field station. Fringing reefs surround much of the island creating shallow lagoons that provide shelter for healthy juvenile fish and invertebrate populations. The reefs are home to a mega fauna that includes spotted eagle rays, sharks, sea turtles, among other varieties of marine organisms.  Little Cayman has one of the last remaining Nassau grouper spawning aggregations which has been protected for 8 years and which will continue to be protected for another 8 years.  Mangroves, sandy and rubbly coasts, interior fresh and brackish water ponds along with nature trails across the island make for easy access to more terrestrial island habitats.   In terms of terrestrial species, the island has one of the largest breeding population of red-footed boobies in the Western Hemisphere, a healthy population of frigate birds, abundant West Indian whistling ducks, occasional parrots, numerous endemic species including the Little Cayman boa, rock iguanas which grow over four feet in length, anole lizards, land crabs, bats, and a diverse tropical forest with over 415 species and varieties of plants that are native and with 29 endemic to the Cayman Islands.
The research center on Little Cayman can therefore facilitate a wide variety of terrestrial and marine research.
Why choose Little Cayman?
Little Cayman is easily accessible from the US, via a short island hop from Grand Cayman.
Direct flights to Grand Cayman are available from Miami, Tampa, Houston, Newark, JFK, Chicago, and several Canadian locations.  Four to five flights on Cayman Air Express provide daily access to Little Cayman on a versatile DeHavilland Twin Otter.  Not only is Little Cayman easily accessible, it is undoubtedly one of the safest islands in the Caribbean and  visitors are quickly welcomed into the local society.  
Please feel free to contact our Field Operations Manager, Rob Hedges (manager at reefresearch.org) if you would like to inquire about establishing a research program at the Little Cayman Research Centre.
Rob Hedges
Little Cayman Research Centre
Field Operations Manager
North Coast Road
Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
Email: manager at reefresearch.org

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