CCMI is on the cusp of becoming a centre of excellence. The station has been running as a fully operational facility for over 7 years now. The facility is perfectly placed to monitor long-‐term coral reef ecosystem trends, given the reef is one of the few showing resilience in the region. One of the big challenges facing the scientific world today is bridging the gap between research and education/conservation management. CCMI is fairly unique in that it offers a link to all these disciplines, in part due to the very special community in LC who support environmental issues whole heartedly, most namely with the weekly community Lionfish Culls and our focus on providing education opportunities from 10 years old onwards. CCMI’s diversity is therefore it’s biggest strength, this is further supported by the investment in specialist oceanographic and ecological monitoring equipment. CCMI has a database of over 14 years worth of coral cover and fish monitoring, providing long-‐term trends and indicators that are crucial to understanding shifts in coral reef ecology.
The role of CCMI within the community is therefore important, not only as a research facility but also as a tourism product. Since opening the facility in 2006, over 100 visiting scientists, over 1000 college students and hundreds of local students have travelled to the Little Cayman Research Centre to study the marine environment in this ‘healthy’ coral reef ecosystem. The facility also holds weekly tours and weekly talks under the ‘Reef Lecture Series’, sharing our most up to date projects with tourists and locals alike. Whilst CCMI is a small organisation within the context of the hotel and watersports industry, 3⁄4 of their funding is raised outside of the Cayman Islands and all of it is spent here, not only progressing our environmental goals which benefit local tourism but also supporting the local economy.
The film was completely shot with a Canon 7D, Hugyfot underwater housing and Light&Motion SOLA 4000.