Director, President and Director of Research & Conservation

Carrie is an oceanographer and in 2016 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for work on the effects of rising sea level on coastal communities in the Indian Ocean. She established CCMI in 1998 and developed the Little Cayman Research Centre with a vision to advance the frontiers of coral reef science, conservation and education. Her Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics is from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. As President and Director of Research for CCMI her deep-rooted curiosity is in the extinction risks of modern corals and she is concerned about the influence reef degradation has on coastal communities. She leads a diverse research programme with collaborators from all over the world who work on topics including impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on corals, algae, and fish.

In an effort to bring attention to threats to reefs she organized the 2016 symposium in London to “Rethink the Future for Coral Reefs’ with CCMI royal patron, HRH the Prince Edward. She is a recent contributor to the United Nations Chronicle writing on the Sustainable Development Goals for the ocean and as a member of the UN World Commission on Marine Protected Areas. As an educator, her greatest aspiration is for children to be ocean literate and she is invested in supporting early career scientists, especially in bringing science to society and in engaging women in science.

Director, Company Chairman

Chris has been with CCMI since 2004, when he helped set up the organisation as a Cayman Islands company. He joined the board of directors in 2010 and has held several positions in the organization, finally taking up the challenge of Chairman in 2015. Chris believes that education and awareness are a focal part of preserving the marine environment and that the Cayman Islands have one of the most spectacular reef systems in the world.

His real love is the research however – as this is the key to making a real difference and Chris has personally contributed to several pioneering research projects, including helping to establish the Coral Reef Early Warning System collaboration with NOAA. Chris is the managing director and partner of Stuarts Walker Hersant Humphries (SWHH), the boutique law firm based in Grand Cayman. SWHH have also supported CCMI through extensive funding initiatives over the years. Chris has been a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London for more than 20 years and is a keen diver and underwater photographer.

Director, Company Chairman

Dr. Gelfand received his degree PhD in 1971 in Chemistry from Rutgers University and was a Research Scientist at Princeton University from 1971 until 2006. His research originally concerned the composition of planetary atmospheres but he eventually wound up working in artificial intelligence and finally neuroscience. His work culminated in his position as Laboratory Director in the Department of Cognitive Electrophysiology, the Center for the study of Brain, Mind, and Behaviour at Princeton. Jack was the Director of Research Administration at SUNY Oswego from 2006 until 2013 when he retired.

Jack was a founding member of CCMI and he helped establish the institute because he was impressed with the potential for research activity and wanted to offer his experience in setting up a research programme. Jack has provided extensive strategic and practical support to the CCMI Board and staff.

Special Advisor ( HR Liaison and Education )

Tim is a business professional with more than 30 years of experience in consulting and corporate operations (HR, Finance, IT) spanning multiple industries and companies including private, public, and non-profit organisations. He served as the VP of Finance and Administration for a Canadian-based energy company operating in Canada and the United States. Additional roles include Director of HR Operations, Global Director of HR, as well as the VP of HR in two India-based acquisitions.

Tim has volunteered on numerous non-profit boards and he has been involved with CCMI since 2007, when he first participated in the “Dive With a Researcher” programme. Tim has served as an advisor to CCMI for many years now, including developing several educational modules and is a volunteer instructor and counsellor for Sea Camp. Tim accepted the position as Treasurer in 2015 and continues to volunteer on education courses.

Director, Company Chairman

Tom Frazer is Professor and Director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida. Dr. Frazer earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research is, by nature, interdisciplinary, involves collaborators from disparate disciplines and is carried across broad space and time scales in an effort to effectively address contemporary and emerging environmental issues. Dr. Frazer is particularly interested in anthropogenic impacts on aquatic systems and current work is focused on invasive species and the impacts of climate change on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. During his tenure at the University of Florida, Dr. Frazer has secured multi-investigator and collaborative research grants totalling more than 13 million dollars. He has authored and/or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, technical reports and book chapters. Dr. Frazer currently serves as Chief Specialty Editor for the Coral Reef Research section of Frontiers in Marine Science and regularly serves as referee for other leading international journals and granting organizations.

JS de Jager Profile Photo
JS de Jager

JS, originally from South Africa, moved to the Cayman Islands in 2007 and immediately fell in love with the Islands and the pristine oceans surrounding his “new” paradise home.  JS joined the board of CCMI in November 2017 following the introduction though mutual personal and professional contacts. It was an easy decision for JS to take on the challenge and join the CCMI board considering his passion for conservation and his love of the Caribbean Islands and surrounding ocean waters, reefs and life.

Since JS’s move to the Cayman Islands JS has been involved in a range of on-island nonprofit organization through fundraising activities and active board level involvement. JS’s background in financial services and specifically in the accounting and investment field and his management of an extensive portfolio of financial industry clients including investment companies, financial management companies, captive insurance/reinsurance companies, non-profit organisations and general commercial activities puts him in a good position to add valuable in put to the financial controls and management of CCMI.


Niki Cesta
Field Station Assistant

Niki joined the CCMI team as Field Station Assistant in 2018. She received her BSc in Biology, and MSc in Environmental Science with focus a in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Toronto. Niki has worked in a range of conservation roles beginning with independent research and later growing into education coordination and station operations. As a Sea Kayak instructor and avid free-diver, Niki helped to develop and teach a carbon-neutral seagrass research protocol while completing her master’s thesis in the Eastern Aegean Sea.
Within this research-education role, Niki also adopted a strong part in station operations. From here, she grew into a Station Management role in the Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz, where she co-managed many aspects of a Marine conservation expedition. Niki hopes to assist with the daily running's at CCMI by combing her practical skills, admin and operations experience. She is also very community-oriented and hopes to become involved in conservation efforts to support Cayman's biodiversity.

Angela Bio Pic
Angela Pretorius
Financial Controller

Angela Pretorius is a Senior Manager with HLB Berman Fisher. She has 12 years of experience in auditing, financial reporting, accounting and finance including 9 years in the Cayman Islands. Originally from South Africa, Angela served 3 years at Deloitte in South Africa before moving to Deloitte Cayman for 2 years. She then was employed as Senior Manager at Baker Tilly Cayman for 7 years before joining the team at HLB Berman Fisher in October 2018. Angela is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants.

Lauren Christie Bio
Lauren Christie
Financial Controller

Lauren Christie provides the accounting and Financial Controller role at CCMI through the Grand Cayman accounting firm, HLB Berman Fisher. At CCMI she is working with the directorship to achieve efficiency savings, transparency, and serves the financial reporting functionalities for the organization.  Lauren started her career with KPMG Audit in London in 2005 and moved to the Cayman Islands in 2008 where she specialized in financial services. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder and holds the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency and has over 12 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Lauren is a board member and Treasurer of both the CFA Society of the Cayman Islands and the Museum Association of the Caribbean, and a member of the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, 100 Women in Hedge Funds and the International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ICAEW).

Dr. Carrie Manfrino
President and Director of Research

Carrie founded CCMI in 1998 and developed the organisation with a strong focus on protecting the biodiversity of coral reefs through research, education and conservation. As a professor of oceanography, Carrie has dedicated over 20 years to marine research in the Cayman Islands.

Carrie is an oceanographer and in 2016 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for work on the effects of rising sea level on coastal communities in the Indian Ocean. She established CCMI in 1998 and developed the Little Cayman Research Centre with a vision to advance the frontiers of coral reef science, conservation and education. Her Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics is from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. As President and Director of Research for CCMI her deep-rooted curiosity is in the extinction risks of modern corals and she is concerned about the influence reef degradation has on coastal communities. She leads a diverse research programme with collaborators from all over the world who work on topics including impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on corals, algae, and fish.

In an effort to bring attention to threats to reefs she organized the 2016 symposium in London to “Rethink the Future for Coral Reefs’ with CCMI royal patron, HRH the Prince Edward. She is a recent contributor to the United Nations Chronicle writing on the Sustainable Development Goals for the ocean and as a member of the UN World Commission on Marine Protected Areas. As an educator, her greatest aspiration is for children to be ocean literate and she is invested in supporting early career scientists, especially in bringing science to society and in engaging women in science.

Sam Hope
Field Station Manager

Sam joined CCMI in February 2018. He has a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology, from the University of Essex, and an MSc in Applied Marine Science, from the University of Plymouth. Sam has managed marine conservation, education and research projects in Cambodia, Belize, Maldives and the Seychelles. He has worked on a variety of projects, including: the collection of the biological data required to set up the first Marine Fisheries Management Area in Cambodia, the creation of a sustainable lionfish fishery in Belize. and was awarded a UNDP Tourism and adaption grant to build a solid waste management center in the Maldives. In addition, Sam is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. As the Field Station Manager, Sam handles the facilities day to day operations including aspects such as project logistics and site maintenance.

Jon Clamp
Director of Operations

Jon was the first research station manager at CCMI (2005-2009) and is currently on his second appointment, having taken a few years break from Little Cayman. He was part of the founding team of the Little Cayman Research Centre, designing and developing the aquatic systems for the facility. He is familiar with all aspects of station life and is responsible for the daily running of the station, overseeing all of the station logistics.

His goal is to maintain the level of excellence that CCMI brings to both Research and Education. Jon has a rich background in both environmental research and operations. He initially moved to the Cayman Islands from Venezuela in 1994, spending several years in the dive industry before becoming the captain of the prestigious Little Cayman Diver II. Jon also worked for the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Belize managing the Glover’s Reef Research Station and World Heritage Site. Jon has a wealth of experience that ensures safe professional operations in the field and is always ready to support the local community and CCMI’s stakeholders.

Paul Maneval
Paul Maneval
Project Manager

Paul began collaborating with CCMI in January 2016 researching coral nursery and restoration techniques as part of his Masters research in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida. He joined the CCMI team in August 2017 as part of joint position with the University of Florida.

Paul is responsible for the management of all coral restoration activities and research including coral nursery development and coral outplanting and monitoring. He is currently conducting research to evaluate coral outplanting techniques and implement 2D and 3D mapping techniques to improve the assessment of coral growth over time.

Paul is also responsible for the development and implementation of digital platforms and tools to improve project workflows and productivity for CCMI. He has incorporated the company-wide use of digital project management and communication platforms to improve staff project workflows, collaboration and productivity.

Dimitri Myles - Diving Pic
Dimitri Myles
Ocean Science Scholar - Marine Education Intern

Dimitri is a young Caymanian aspiring to become a Marine Biologist.  He is currently a student in the University College of the Cayman Islands completing his Associate of Science –Science degree. He has been accepted at James Cook University in Australia where he plans to get his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology degree. Once he completes his Bachelor’s degree, he plans on going on to get his PhD in Marine Biology.

Dimitri’s passion for marine biology led him to become a PADI Open Water Instructor and he’s currently working on getting his captain’s license. He has also taken advantage of any opportunities available, including volunteering with Guy Harvey to research the stingrays at Stingray City, volunteering with DoE turtle nesting and shark logging as well as helping to maintain the coral nursery at Ocean Frontiers. He is very community-minded, reliable, and environmentally conscious.

Stephanie Macdonald
Stephanie Macdonald
Research Intern

Stephanie has been passionate about the natural environment, its protection, and the creatures that inhabit it ever since she can remember. Having received a B.Sc in Biology majoring in marine Biology from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, she will soon begin her M.Sc in Tropical Marine Biology at the University of Essex to gain a better understanding of the underwater world and the complex ecological processes that exist there. As an Open Water Scuba Instructor and Marine Biologist, Stephanie has worked all over the Caribbean including Honduras, Cuba and Belize.

Dr. Claire Dell
Research Scientist

Claire Dell is originally from Zimbabwe but grew up in Scotland where she obtained her Master’s in Aquatic Bioscience from Glasgow University. After several years working on Caribbean coral reefs, including those of Little Cayman, she completed her Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from Georgia Tech in 2016. Her research focuses on how species acclimatise to conditions in healthy and degraded coral reefs.

Claire conducted substantial field work in Fiji for her dissertation research under the direction of Mark Hay. She is excited about returning to Little Cayman and working to keep the reefs healthy! Claire is funded by the Darwin Plus grant, exploring mechanisms that boost coral reef resilience including fish herbivory.

Katie Correia
Science Programme Manager

Katie joined CCMI in February 2016. She has a B.S. Degree in Marine Science and Coastal Geology from Coastal Carolina University, USA and is currently completing a M.S. Degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management from Nova Southeastern University, USA. In addition, Katie is SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Katie is responsible for the development, planning and supporting the science and society programmes at CCMI, including providing oversight for undergraduate interns, outreach and citizen science programmes. Katie leads CCMI’s sustainability initiative and assists with research and teaching the K-12 programmes. Katie’s goal is to ensure that every person who comes through CCMI’s doors leaves with a better understanding and a stronger passion for our marine environment.

Maisy Profile Photo
Maisy Fuller
Education Programme Coordinator

Maisy joined the CCMI team in 2018. She has a Msci in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton and spent her third year abroad at the University of Western Australia. Since leaving university, she has worked on marine conservation projects in Panama, Malaysia and the Philippines as both a marine researcher and educator. In addition, Maisy is a PADI Divemaster.

Maisy is passionate about the marine environment and firmly believes that scientific research and community outreach and education go hand in hand. Through her work at CCMI, Maisy hopes to be able to educate and inspire a wide range of audiences about the ocean and its inhabitants. This includes spreading awareness about the threats currently facing the marine environment and how everyone has a part to play in reducing human impacts.

Kelly Forsythe
Kelly Forsythe
Field Station & Research Assistant

Kelly grew up in Grand Cayman and is a local to the Cayman Islands. She has studied in Scotland where she received her BSc in Marine Biology (Hons) from the University of Stirling and her MSc in Marine Systems & Policies from the University of Edinburgh in 2016.

Kelly has had the opportunity to study a variety of marine life in temperate and tropical regions from cetaceans in the Bay of Biscay, parrotfish in the Caribbean Sea and coral bleaching in the Indian Ocean.

She is excited for this opportunity to work closer to home to be able to share her passion for research, environmental education and of course the Cayman Islands!

Ashly Carabetta
Education Intern

Ashly joined the CCMI team in 2018. Originally from landlocked Dallas, Texas, she still had an affinity for nature and the ocean. In 2004 she moved to New York and later received her B.S. in Biology from Stony Brook University. Her volunteer experiences have led her to assist in land and sea projects in Costa Rica, Mozambique and South Africa. In 2016, Ashly received her Masters of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is a PADI Divemaster and AAUS Scientific Diver. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for a New York non-profit organization called Coastal Steward, where she connects people to the coastal marine environment while protecting and restoring it. She is excited to join CCMI as an Education Intern where she can utilize her passion for increasing science communication efforts in the field of marine conservation.

Joe Kuehl Wall Diving
Joe Kuehl
Marine Project Manager and Dive Safety Officer

Joe joined the CCMI team in 2018. He received his B.S. in Marine Science from the University of Florida. While working for the University as a NAUI Open Water Scuba Instructor and research assistant, Joe visited CCMI’s field station several times as a research diver for coral restoration efforts.

Joe supports the daily activities and safe diving operations of the research, conservation, and education programs at CCMI. Using his strong background in diving and boating, Joe responsible for managing the diving and boating operations for visiting and resident scientists. As the Dive Safety Officer, Joe will be promoting safe diving practices for all divers at CCMI.

Robyn Larkin
Robyn Larkin
Project Manager

Robyn joined CCMI in 2018, and has lived in Grand Cayman since 2009, when she moved to the island from Bermuda. An environmental educator by trade, Robyn worked as project manager with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and Tower Marketing, where she planned and organised projects such as Taste of Cayman and the Cayman Finance Student Education and Work Experience Programme. Her passion in life is helping people find their passion, especially if that is protecting and conserving ocean ecosystems. At CCMI, Robyn is the Grand Cayman based contact, responsible for organizing fundraising events, supporting education programmes on Grand Cayman, and supporting the development efforts as CCMI grows and implements new and exciting programmes.

Beth Chafin
Development and Communications Coordinator

Beth came to CCMI in 2017 as a current resident of Little Cayman, where she had been working as a dive instructor/dive center coordinator. Beth has a Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University, where she also worked in communications and event management. Prior to Little Cayman, Beth has worked elsewhere in the Caribbean as a dive instructor, and in her role at CCMI she is merging her passion for marine life with her skills as a communicator.  She is responsible for helping to develop and establish a Little Cayman communications plan and is supporting the development team in grant submissions.

Emily Lopez

Emily joined CCMI in 2007 and she is the heart and soul of CCMI. Emily provides excellent Caymanian style cooking for groups of all sizes. For those researchers that spend long periods of time in the field, often with long and exhausting days, Emily’s range of deliciously home cooked food is always a welcome treat.


Prince Edward
Royal Patron of CCMI

He was present at the groundbreaking of the Little Cayman Research Center in 2003. At that time, he heralded a dedication that remains today: to sustain the biodiversity of coral reefs so that children of the world may forever discover the treasures of the sea.

On a subsequent visit in 2007, he launched the Ocean Literacy programme, the mandate of which is to ensure that “every child in the Cayman Islands is ocean literate by the time they are 12 years old.” To date some 1,000 children in the Cayman Islands have participated in CCMI’s residential programme. In his 2007 message, the Prince said "As Patron, I am delighted to support the CCMI's vision and plans for the creation of the Little Cayman Research Centre as a permanent field station for marine research and education. If it helps just a few of us to understand and appreciate the most important issues facing coral reefs today it may well benefit future generations. As the plaque on the beach at Bloody Bay states, 'For the children of the world, so they may forever discover the treasures of the sea."

HRH has visited the research centre on four different occasions, most recently with his wife, the Countess of Wessex when he finally had the opportunity to dive Bloody Bay Wall in 2016. His tireless work for CCMI has helped establish the organization with an impressive international reputation.


Visiting and collaborative scientists

Visiting scientists who have conducted independent and collaborative research or who have participated in workshops include:

Tom Frazer, James Hendee, Chuck Jacoby, Karsten Shein, Peter Minnett, Tsuyoshi Watanabe, David Bellwood, Courtney Cox, Joe Pawlick, Marilyn Brandt, Isabel Cote, Elizabeth Whiteman, David Gruber, Roger Hanlon, Mark Hixon, Charles Jacoby, Nate Truelove, Chris Langdon, Joan Kleypas, Geir Johnsen, Mark Moline, Diego Lirman, Ken Anthony, Derrek Manzello, Atsuko Yamazaki, Steffen Hetzinger, Celia Chen, Gillman Ouellette, Kate Peach, Charles Kerans and Ian Enochs.

Steffen Hetzinger

Dr. Hetzinger was a Coral Reef Fellow with CCMI and is a CCMI Research Associate, specializing in geochemistry, geology, and paleoclimatology. Dr. Hetzinger earned a PhD in Marine Geology from Kiel University (Germany) and completed a Postdoctoral fellowship as a Humboldt Fellow at University of Toronto, Canada. He is a Research Assistant at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel since 2010. Dr. Hetzinger 's research interests center on the extraction of past environmental signals from the skeletons of marine organisms such as corals by using microsampling techniques and geochemical analysis. Around Little Cayman massive coral colonies can grow continuously for up to several hundred years. Dr. Hetzinger expects that the reconstruction of past natural climate fluctuations from these high-resolution archives provides an important baseline to better understand the dangers of global warming to modern Caribbean reefs. Dr. Hetzinger has published over 40 articles on related to historical coral health and climate events based upon the study of coral and algal records, including four publications based upon research conducted at CCMI.

Tom Frazer

Dr. Frazer is the director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at University of Florida. He has authored or co-authored over 90 papers in his field of interest. Dr. Frazer earned his PdD in Biological Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1995. He focuses on threats to aquatic resources worldwide due to development, pollution, and other environmental. His aim is to develop management resources pertaining to increased nutrient enrichment in water, and his regional focus is particularly on Florida’s central Gulf coast. Dr. Frazer advises students conducting research in the coral nurseries on Little Cayman. His formal affiliation with CCMI is as the Coral Reef Conservation Senior Fellow and a member of the board.

Marguerite Koch

Dr. Koch is a professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Koch earned her Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her research interests include primary productivity of tropical marine ecosystems such as seagrass; mangroves; and coral reefs, the effects of climate change on tropical marine autotrophs, stress response and adaptations of tropical marine autotrophs, and nutrient cycling in tropical carbonate ecosystems. She has authored and co-authored over 50 publications on these topics. Dr. Koch was a Coral Reef Resilience Fellow and is a CCMI Research Associate.

Courtney Cox

Dr. Cox is a research scientist/program coordinator with the Smithsonian Institute’s Marine Conservation Program. She received her PhD through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Broadly, Dr. Cox’s research centers on evaluating the effectiveness of conservation strategies for restoring parrotfish populations and using molecular techniques to develop and improve coral reef conservation and management strategies. Much of her work is conducted in Belize and across the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. She is focused on assessing population connectivity and larval dispersal of parrotfish across the Caribbean using population genetics and incorporating this information into management plans. She is also using genetic barcoding to identify fish and shark species used in local markets across the Caribbean. Dr. Cox is presently involved in ongoing research in conjunction with CCMI and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, studying herbivorous fish populations and behavior in a project supported by the Darwin Initiative.

James Hendee

Dr. Hendee is the Director of the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Hendee earned his Ph.D at Nova Southeastern University in 2000, following a MS in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology from Florida State University. He is a CCMI Research Associate and has conducted research on coral bleaching in Little Cayman. Dr. Hendee was involved in the establishment of the Little Cayman Research Centre’s Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) buoy as part of the ongoing Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) with NOAA. Jim has authored and co-authored dozens of academic papers, primarily focused on coral bleaching and environmental stressors affecting reef ecosystems.