Outreach: YFS in the Cayman Islands
Is your yacht going to be in the region this year? Can you help support marine research?
The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is extending an invitation to yacht owners and crew for a hands-on scientific mission: to conduct critical research in the unexplored offshore seamounts and nearshore deep reefs of the Cayman Islands. Leading the research is Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley, a renowned marine scientist.
This mission is structured as an ongoing, year-round initiative, with the CCMI requiring only a few weeks’ notice to coordinate with interested vessels. Targeted areas for study include Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, 12-Mile Bank, and Pickle Bank. Yachts based on the East Coast USA, or those visiting the Caribbean and Bahamas, are ideally positioned to contribute.
The research aims to catalogue the biodiversity of benthic and pelagic communities, employing methods such as in-situ surveys, photogrammetry, benthic mapping, and genetic analyses. The urgency of this work is underscored by the threats facing coral reef systems, including overfishing and climate change. Offshore seamounts, while crucial for the distribution of marine species, suffer from detrimental fishing practices, making this research imperative for their conservation.
Yachts participating in this initiative will need to be equipped with a skiff for deploying and retrieving technical divers, as well as have ample space for storing dive gear, including tanks and potential booster pumps. The project's activities will involve technical diving with rebreathers and open-circuit doubles, filtering seawater, and processing DNA samples.
Data and specimens collected will include underwater survey information, water samples, as well as coral, algae, and fish tissue samples, the latter potentially including sharks caught by line fishing. The minimum commitment for yachts is two nights at 12 Mile Bank and three nights at Pickle Bank, with 2-8 berths available for researchers and crew.
Dr. Goodbody-Gringley, the Director of Research and Education at CCMI, will helm the research team. Her expertise offers yacht owners and their guests an unparalleled educational experience, immersing them in the forefront of marine biological research.
Interested yacht owners are encouraged to reach out to Yachts for Science for a detailed discussion on how they can integrate this meaningful scientific endeavour into their itineraries while visiting Grand Cayman. This is not only a chance to contribute to vital marine research but also a unique way to enrich the yachting experience with purpose and discovery.
Please get in touch with Rosie at Yachts for Science ditrectly, if you would like to take part.
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