Diving to Help Save Coral Reefs- Science in Action

Why are some corals surviving climate change while others are not?
Scientists at the Little Cayman Research Centre are working on this question and you could help.


Have you ever wanted to scuba dive with a purpose?
Or have you ever wished you could explore reefs with a scientist and discover something new?
Do you want to help coral reef scientists solve some of the mysteries of coral reefs?
If so, you can join our  team at the Little Cayman Research Centre this summer and spend a week, or two weeks at a working, vibrant field station.
Divers are invited to become citizen scientists to help us answer questions to aid the most critically endangered ecosystem in the ocean.

Price – USD $2,500


Advanced scuba divers & divers with good experience and high comfort level.


Daily dives will see participants taking part in research in action. Whether you are helping us with the coral restoration, taking part in monitoring or supporting scientists as they collect data, you will be immersed in the most beautiful marine environment.

You will help with beach clean ups, get a lionfish license and help cull lionfish. Learn more about the fish, corals and critters that contribute to healthy coral reefs, whilst living at a fully operational vibrant field research facility. You will take part in talks with local scientists and have the opportunity to learn as much or as little as you want!

Little Cayman is a beautiful island, there will be opportunity to kayak, swim, snorkel and explore the islands’ hidden gems, as well as head out in the evenings to the local bar or restaurant if you feel like venturing off site.

Room and board (3 meals/day) will be provided, rental dive gear is available if needed. Prices do not include insurance or flights.

2020 dates for the programme are:

Session 1: June 28th – July 4th 2020

Session 2: July 4th – 10th 2020

Combined Session: July 28th – July 10th 2020


Since 2016, CCMI has partnered with Diving With Heroes to deliver a week-long programme every year at the Little Cayman Research Centre as part of the Diving With Heroes Marine Science Intiative. Veterans spend their time immersed in field station life working alongside scientists to preserve and restore coral reef ecosystems. We know that diving creates a new, invigorating world for veterans, helping recovery, opening new doors to a different way of life and providing an active, technical sport that aligns with a military way of thinking. By taking this experience a step further and including the research and conservation element into the mix, diving is given a greater purpose – it’s not just about enjoying the sport, it’s also about learning how to protect our oceans for the future.

For more information, check out the Diving With Heroes website.


Coral reefs live in a stressful world. Thanks to climate change and carbon dioxide emissions, they have to deal with rising sea temperatures and increasingly acidic ocean waters, which make them more susceptible to disease and death.

The coral reef off Little Cayman Island tells a story of survival in the face of these challenges. It’s one of the few reefs in the world to recover after the 1998 El Nino year, which caused record-high sea temperatures around the world and took a huge toll on reefs (some countries lost 90% of their living reefs).

What can Little Cayman’s reefs tell researchers about the future coral reefs around the world? Help find out by snorkeling off this remote island, surveying the types of coral growing in specific locations and the environmental conditions that support coral the best. You’ll also learn about, and observe scientists working in a shallow ocean “nursery,” where researchers are practicing coral gardening: growing new coral from fragments taken from the reef, then replanting those baby corals into the wild to boost reef recovery.

Join us for a week of tropical sun, science, and snorkeling on the pristine beaches and palatial coral reefs of Little Cayman!

Dates Available:

Team 1: 5 February – 11 February 2020

Team 2: 4 April – 10 April 2020

Team 3: 27 September – 3 October 2020

Team 4: 29 November – 5 December 2020

Please click here for how you can get involved with Earthwatch.

Earthwatch participants must be adventurous, enthusiastic, and confident swimmers. Some previous snorkeling experience is expected.


As terrestrial beings, most people are challenged to understand the unique processes of the ocean or even fathom being able to take the plunge and dive below the waves. Among the challenges is that urban, rural and geographically land-locked people perceive the ocean to be a distant place beyond their reach. In addition, scientists are often conducting research on relevant topics at remote locations where it is virtually impossible for the majority of the general public to gain a first-hand experience. This reality creates enormous financial, logistical, physical constraints on bringing people into the field where they can directly explore the ocean.

CCMI’s education team has developed a transformational, interactive education programme using Virtual Live Experiences (VLEs) methods to connect students and the public to real-time coral reef activity, in an informal science setting. Scientists use high tech face masks and streaming computer equipment to deliver live lessons from the underwater and lab environment. Innovative technology enables VLEs to reduce barriers to learning by communicating interactive ‘real-life’ experiences in an informal, scalable science setting. Learn more about the programme HERE.

Do you want your students to be a part of this adventure below the waves? Contact us today.


Reef Lecture Series

CCMI’s scientists conduct weekly lectures on CCMI’s current research interests as well as other issues impacting the marine environment. These lectures are held locally at Southern Cross Club at 6 pm on Thursdays and are open to the public including visitors. The topics covered will include themes like climate change and its impact on coral reefs, the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish, ongoing efforts to recover local Nassau grouper populations and a variety of other issues impacting Cayman Islands reefs. For the most current information on the lecture series, please see our Facebook Page.

Research Station Tour

Weekly tours are conducted on Friday at 2:30 pm at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute for guests on Little Cayman. Visitors are able to see the research facilities firsthand and get an inside look into our current research programmes. Visitors to Little Cayman interested in a tour of the station should inquire at the reception desk of their hotel or call CCMI on: 1 345 948 1094 or email info@reefresearch.org.

Dollar a Dive

Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Marine Park is among one of the most diverse and pristine coral reefs in the world and unlike other marine parks around the world is open to divers free of charge. For divers who would like to support research to protect and preserve this natural wonder, CCMI has created the “Dollar-a-Dive” campaign. For a donation of $1 per dive done in the marine park (usually about $10), divers will receive a dive tag to place on their equipment to show their support for marine conservation and commemorate their dive trip in Little Cayman. All proceeds go toward funding CCMI’s research in Little Cayman. Dive tags are available for purchase at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and also at local dive shops on Little Cayman.