CCMI Coral Nurseries Flourish with Support from Consolidated Water and the Disney Conservation Fund

December 11, 2018

Coral nurseries are often compared to underwater gardens. Like gardens, they require resources and constant, year-round attention to details, maintenance and observation to ensure they are healthy and productive.

The Disney Conservation Fund and Consolidated Water have provided integral support making all of that time and cost-intensive work possible, which, in turn, supports the important coral research being conducted at theCentral Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). Recently, Consolidated Water extended their support of this programme with an additional three-year commitment.

“Consolidated Water is pleased to help CCMI in its endless efforts to maintain a healthy coral reef in the Cayman Islands. Our mission is to transform sea water into clean and 100% safe drinking water so, helping in preserving corals and marine life, is a good way to take care of our source water.,” said Manuel Thomaz, General Manager of Cayman Water, the local subsidiary of Consolidated Water. “We believe that in providing financial support to CCMI, we are not only contributing to maintain a healthy and sustainable marine environment around the Cayman Islands but also to raise the country’s standards in terms of sustainable development and growth.”

This new three-year agreement will take the coral restoration work being conducted at CCMI to an important 10-year milestone since its implementation, allowing scientists ample time to launch projects and obtain valuable results about coral growth, reproduction and outplanting.

CCMI, with the support of the Cayman Islands Department ofEnvironment, developed the first coral nursery in the Cayman Islands in 2012and has now expanded to a total of three nurseries, which now contain three important and endangered species of coral: staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata); and a pilot nursery study of mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata).Additionally, there is a high diversity amongst the staghorn coral found within these nurseries, with 14 distinct genotypes of this species represented. Overall, the Little Cayman coral nurseries have three main goals: enhancing biodiversity through restoration, protecting nursery corals from storms, and improving outplanted coral survival. The coral nurseries are also utilised as a training tool for coral reef managers and young scientists, as well as an education resource. Support from the Disney Conservation Fund allowed CCMI to repair nursery structures and adapt nursery location and design following wave impacts from Irma in 2017, making the coral restoration work CCMI is doing more resilient and sustainable long-term.

“Thanks to the continued support of our coral restoration projects by Consolidated Water and the Disney Conservation Fund, researchers can further their investigations into understanding the secrets of coral resiliency,”stated Dr Carrie Manfrino, President and Director of CCMI. “We are pursuing the questions that will help us understand how to better restore and populate the reefs with thriving corals. We then share this information among coral nursery managers as we all work to benefit Cayman’s coral reefs.”

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