A Message from CCMI’s President
No matter where you live, coral reefs are critically important to the health of humanity and the planet. Only in the last few decades has their significance become clear. Though they cover less that 1% of the ocean's floor, coral reefs provide the breeding grounds for the only source of protein for over a billion people and protect coastlines from storm and hurricane damage. Here in the Caribbean, reef-based fishing, diving and tourism activities represent over half of the Gross Domestic Product of island nations. Coral reefs, the only living organism visible from space, are the rainforests of the ocean and represent a vast and rich repository of biodiversity. Whether for food, livelihoods, tourism, or cures for diseases, coral reefs are relevant to us all.
At the same time that we are discovering the essential role that reefs play in keeping our oceans healthy, they have become the most threatened and vulnerable marine ecosystem on Earth. Due to human activities that range from overfishing, heavy coastal development, waste deposal, pollution and increased tourism, coral reefs are dying at alarming rates across the globe. In addition to direct local human impacts, ocean warming, invasive species, and coral diseases are adding to the stresses sensitive coral reef ecosystems face, resulting in unprecedented levels of coral bleaching and mortality. Understanding what makes a more resilient reef, so that we may preserve these vital ecosystems, is an urgent requirement to sustaining their biodiversity. This is our mission.
Dr. Carrie Manfrino