CCMI from the Sky from Frans De Backer on Vimeo.
The Little Cayman Research Centre was designed by architect John Doak of Cayman Style as a series of connected pavilions (see figure below). The Main Pavilion (centre), Kitchen Pavilion (right), and Outdoor Wet Lab Pavilion (left) form the main core of the centre. A Bath House Pavilion (far left) completes this part of the project.
1. Main Station Pavilion
The Main Station Pavilion includes a classroom, library, laboratories, dormitories and private rooms, an office centre, a visitors centre, and a student centre. Computers with wireless Internet access, plus marine and other biology-oriented texts are available.
(a) Classroom Facing the Sea: Main Station Pavilion First Floor
- The island of Little Cayman and the surrounding reefs are the ideal classroom for students visiting the Little Cayman Research Centre. However, sometimes teaching requires tools that nature alone cannot provide. For this reason, the LCRC has a large multimedia classroom. The classroom can easily seat 50+ students and is located on the ground floor of centre, facing the Caribbean Sea to the north. The classroom is currently outfitted with a PC projector and fast wireless Internet access.
(b ) Laboratories: Main Station Pavilion, First Floor
- Lab 1 – The Indoor Wet Lab is a 195-square-foot lab, intended for easy processing of field samples. It provides ample work areas, and has multiple freshwater and saltwater taps, plus deep and shallow processing tables and tanks.
- Lab 2 – The Critter Analysis Lab is a 195-square-foot analysis lab used to analyze samples that have already been collected and processed in the wet labs or to evaluate the progress of ongoing experiments. It contains dissecting microscopes, centrifuges and basic glassware. A drying oven and storage refrigerator is also available.
- Lab 3 – The Tech Lab is a 175-square-foot lab intended for geochemical or climate-control experiments. This lab is used for experiments that require environmental control and has recently been updated with equipment and sensors for ocean acidification research, including alkalinity titrations, infrared CO2 gas analysis and pH measurement instrumentation. DNA and RNA extractions, coral disease studies, and other cellular investigations can be undertaken, and there is space for setting up high-precision cameras and microscopes. Our chemical storage area includes four designated areas for organic, inorganic, flammable and acidic chemicals.
(c) Library and Lounge: Main Station Pavilion, Second Floor
- The Little Cayman Research Centre has a library with literature on previous research conducted in the Cayman Islands as well as important journals and books documenting tropical biological studies. Conservation Biology provides the library with a free subscription to the journal. Couches and casual reading books make this a good place to relax at the end of the day.
(d) Dormitories & Private Rooms: Main Station Pavilion, Second Floor -
The sleeping quarters are located on the second floor of the station. Four separate dorm rooms can house up to six students each (accommodating up to 24 people). Two rooms are allocated as quarters for visiting scientists, with separate men's and women's washrooms. There is also a comfortable lounge on the second floor where students can sit and relax after a long day of work.
2. Wet Lab Pavilion
Lab 4 - The Wet Lab Pavilion is a 540-square-foot open-air and climate controlled wet lab pavilion, used to observe and process coral reef organisms in a variety of environments with free-flowing seawater. It also contains large aquariums and specimen tanks for multiple studies. The wet lab includes:
- An outdoor lab with large deck space for holding tanks potentially for Lionfish or fish studies and for demonstrations to school groups.
- An indoor, climate controlled aquarium area where researchers can conduct studies manipulating the seawater conditions to test effects of ocean acidification and simulate future climate simulations, as well as experiment with other factors that may improve reef resilience. A shaded screened area extends from the back of the double door opening shown on the left. Experiments that require natural sunlight will be possible in this area.
3. Kitchen Pavilion
A fully equipped commercial kitchen and screened-in dining area can easily accommodate 30 visitors. It is open for 3 meals per day when groups of 4 or more are residing. The screened community dining area provides an excellent place for visitors to reflect on the days’ events while enjoying dinner.
4. Bath House Pavilion
Sustainable Development Design at LCRC.
The Bath House is an off-the grid, solar-powered bath house with composting toilets and a grey water garden. The Bath House at the Little Cayman Research Centre is the first sustainably designed facility in the Cayman Islands.
5. Planned Additions To The LCRC
Managers Quarters, Boat House and sustainable living bungalows
In addition to the equipment available in the labs, CCMI offers a full range of scientific research capabilities, including high-quality Leica microscopes; two centrifuges; hot plates; four Fisher Stereomaster and Micromaster microscopes; a general purpose incubator; and YSI and ORION 5 Star meters and accessory probes to measure pH, temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen.
The LCRC also has field research equipment such as transect tape, quadrats, PVC metre rules, tape measures, nets, clip boards, mesh bags, dry bags, slates, sieves, etc. Camera equipment includes an Olympus camera with underwater housing, and a GoPro Hero 2 camera with underwater housing and SRP red filter.
21-foot MAKO (for 4 divers or 6 snorkelers), 34-foot specially-designed Dive and Research Vessel (equipped for 14 divers with 2 tanks each, or 18 snorkelers) and a skiff for researchers in need of a small and quick water taxi.
The LCRC has an air compressor and Nitrox is available on island. Scuba gear is available for rental. Our Scuba Shack is ideal for storing, washing, and drying gear after a dive.