Dr Carrie Manfrino

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 CCMI's founder, 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 has partnered 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's royal patron, His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. She contributed to the United Nations Chronicle, writing on the Sustainable Development Goals for the ocean and served 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.

Dr Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley
Director of Research

Dr Goodbody-Gringley is CCMI's Director of Research, heading up CCMI’s Vision 2025 Reef Resilience and Restoration Research team. Previously, Dr Goodbody-Gringley was an Assistant Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) where she led the Reef Ecology and Evolution Laboratory.  

Dr Goodbody-Gringley's research focuses on population structure, reproductive ecology, and genetic connectivity of a variety of organisms that inhabit tropical coral reef ecosystems ranging from inshore shallow reefs down to the mesophotic zone, with the goal of understanding how ecosystems function in order to maintain biodiversity. To address questions related to reef health, evolution, resilience, and recovery, she combines large-scale in situ ecological surveys, small-scale laboratory experiments, and molecular ecology. Dr Goodbody-Gringley’s current projects include a collaboration with A. Trembanis from the University of Delaware using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in combination with technical diving to map deep reef systems and couple the physical environment with biological communities. She is also working with H. Putnam from the University of Rhode Island and J. Bruno from the University of North Carolina to determine thermal tolerances of corals to climate change and the capacity for corals to adapt over a single generation. In 2019, she traveled to Israel to work with T. Mass from Haifa University to explore how patterns of development differ between corals on shallow and deep reefs in the Red Sea.  

Gretchen completed her BSc at the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She then held postdoctoral positions at Mote Marine Laboratory and University of Bologna, Italy. Gretchen has a broad background in benthic marine ecology and is particularly interested in the evolution of life history strategies and how that in turn serves to structure population dynamics and maintain genetic diversity.   

Kate H
Kate Holden
Director of Advancement

Kate has worked with CCMI since 2009. She has an MSc in Sustainable Development and over 20 years experience as a marketing and communications professional. Kate and her team manage the grant writing, donor management, fundraising, communications and strategic advancement for CCMI – everything is done in house.

Kate took a sabbatical from her career in 2007, to work as a dive instructor in the Cayman Islands. This was her first move to immersing herself in the marine environment for a living and remains her passion today. Kate is determined that the general public is given the opportunity to have a better understanding of the marine environment, via outreach and education from key research discoveries, so they can protect it for the future.

Rob Hedges
Business Manager

Rob Hedges is on his second stint with CCMI - he is well remembered for his leadership and abilities as our Ops Director from 2011-2015. Joining us again in 2019 as the Business Manager and based in the UK, Rob oversees the financial, HR and systems aspects of the company.

Rob has an academic background in coastal marine biology and over 10 years experience managing marine and tech operations. Previously, he was an ops and training manager at busy dive operation in Grand Cayman, and is also an IDC staff instructor. Rob combines a fantastic understanding of marine research in the field with the application of running a business. Rob therefore brings a wealth of experience to CCMI and will be responsible for keeping us compliant and up to date, as per the UK, US and Cayman Islands charity/non-profit regulations.

Research Team

Gabby REEL Research Intern
Gaby Carpenter
Research Intern

Gaby Carpenter recently graduated with an MS in marine biology from Northeastern University where she worked on an independent project with Dr. Steve Doo to assess the impacts of thermal history on future heat stress of large benthic foraminifers (LBFs). This study aimed to understand the acclimation and/or adaptation potential of LBFs and she is eager to examine similar potential in corals as an intern for the Reef Ecology and Evolution Lab (REEL) at CCMI. Gaby is originally from Southern California where she first learned to scuba dive in the temperate kelp forests. She completed her BA in Environmental Science and Economics (honors) at Colby College in Maine, and she worked briefly in environmental consulting. After leaving that position, Gaby pursued her passion for travel and the oceans during a divemaster internship with Marine Conservation Philippines. While there, she studied the effectiveness of marine protected areas and coral restoration techniques. Since that time, she received her certification as an open water scuba instructor as well as an open circuit and closed circuit technical diver. Gaby is excited to combine her research and dive interests as an intern at CCMI.

Sabrina Weber Research Intern
Sabrina Weber
Ocean Science Scholar - Research Intern

Sabrina has grown up in Grand Cayman and has been diving since the age of 14. She twice attended the CCMI Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp while in high school. Since that time, she has had a passion for ocean science and wanted to pursue a career in marine research and education. Sabrina graduated from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, with a Bachelor's of Science (Honors) in environmental science. Sabrina has spent her past couple of summers working for the conservation group, Operation Wallacea, as a marine scientist in Akumal, Mexico. There she assisted with research and education initiatives and helped run a fast-paced, dynamic research site. Sabrina plans to pursue a master’s degree in marine biology in September 2021. In the meantime, Sabrina is living in Grand Cayman, interning for CCMI, learning and gaining as much research experience as possible.


Education Team

Lars Elstrodt
Reefs Go Live Intern

Lars grew up in the Netherlands where he went to college to study theatre. In 2009, he moved to Australia for a gap year where he learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef - and found his love for the ocean. Not long after returning home, Lars decided that the cold and murky waters of the Netherlands werent going to cut it. He decided to pursue a career underwater, preferably in warmer waters. Since making that decision, Lars has worked as a dive Instructor and underwater videographer/photographer in Australia, Thailand, Bonaire and in 2017, he moved to Grand Cayman. These days you will find Lars mostly underwater filming or taking photos, especially if there are sharks involved. 

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Cassandra Macdowell
Ocean Science Scholar - Marine Education Intern

Cassandra is a young Caymanian from Cayman Brac who has a passion for education and environmental conservation. After graduating high school, Cassie volunteered with the Department of Environment to tag and monitor Sister Islands Rock Iguanas as well as managed and assisted in developing the green iguana culling initiative, Green GO, on Cayman Brac. She has also volunteered with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, including working on multiple stingray surveys in Grand Cayman and travelling to Mexico with the team to film a documentary on whale sharks and manta rays.

Cass was awarded the Rising Star Award at CCMI’s Festival of the Seas Gala in 2018. She has since completed an internship as an Ocean Science Scholar (spring 2019) with CCMI in Little Cayman. She then served as a field officer for the Blue Iguana Conservation Programme in Grand Cayman for almost a year before returning to the water, where she worked as a dive master and photographer. We welcome Cass back for a second internship through the Ocean Science Scholars Programme.

Operations Team

Tom Pegram
Tom Pegram
Field Station Manager

Tom Pegram comes to CCMI with a background in marine biology, having graduated from Newcastle University in 2009, and a love of scuba diving and the underwater world. Prior to his arrival in Cayman in 2021, Tom most recently spent a year in Indonesia as a scuba instructor, managed a dive operation on the remote Pacific island of Niue, and worked two years as a marine biologist in the Maldives, where he managed coral restoration projects.

Tom is a jack of all trades, having worked with anything from monitoring algae and zooplankton for Anglian Water in the UK to photo identification of humpback whales, manta, and turtles. He has volunteered in nightingale surveys and worked in roles that included servicing dive equipment and compressors. His wide range of talents and skills will come in handy at the field station in Little Cayman.

A keen diver and conservationist, Tom spends his time engaging people with the ocean. As a manager and instructor, he has a strong focus on safety and delivering quality work in whatever he does.

Lowell Forbes
Maintenance Manager

Lowell first came to the Cayman Islands in the early 2000's to work seven years with Sam McCoys Lodge in Little Cayman before leaving on roll over for a year. When he returned to Cayman, Lowell came to CCMI in 2008, starting as a part-time employee and quickly  moving into a full time role after Hurricane Paloma. As Maintenance Manager, Lowerll is responsible for keeping CCMI’s facilities maintained and captaining the boats. Originally from Guanaja, Hondurs, Lowell is a PADI divemaster and has an outstanding knowledge of the waters surrounding Little Cayman. He runs a safe and successful dive operation at CCMI and has developed a strong reputation among the repeat researchers and education groups. He has participated in many field research activities and has invaluable experience of the overall operations of the research facility. Lowell enjoys passing this knowledge onto to young students and researchers alike.

Support Team

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).

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
Science Communications and Development Manager

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.