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.

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Rob Hedges
Director of Finance

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.

Gretchen-Goodbody-Gringley
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.   

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Dr Carrie Manfrino
Founder

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.

Research Team

Jack Johnson
Dr. Jack Johnson
Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Jack Johnson is a postdoctoral researcher at CCMI working on multiple projects, such as investigating temporal and spatial variations in shallow water coral reef community structure throughout the Cayman Islands, to the relationship between reef fish and benthic composition on mesophotic reefs. Jack previously completed his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast after studying for his MSc at the University of Essex, and his BSc at the University of South Wales.

Jack is a Macroecologist and evolutionary biologist with particular interests in fieldwork, data science, code reproducibility, scuba diving, and global scale modelling. These interests combined have led Jack to be involved with multiple projects where organisms and ecosystems have been used as model systems to test key questions in evolutionary biology. These model systems include coral reefs, Trinidadian guppies, amphibians, and native & invasive amphipods. An overview of Jacks work can be found here, with all code and data used by Jack in his work available here.

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Haley Davis
Research Intern

Growing up in Austin, Texas, Haley Davis became enamoured with the ocean through her early childhood experiences in the Gulf of Mexico. After getting scuba certified at 18, she began to pursue an education in environmental science through a combination of undergraduate studies and unique internship opportunities. It was these experiences that gave Haley a greater understanding of coral ecosystems, eventually enabling her to pursue a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute under the guidance of Dr. Joshua Voss.

For her graduate thesis work, she conducted a series of highly actionable ex-situ coral stress experiments, all the while remaining involved in community outreach, scuba instructing, and increasing her experience as a boat operator.  Haley is also assisting in assessing the resilience of corals to climate change in collaboration with URI and BIOS funding by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Lucas Le Gall
Lucas Le Gall
Research Intern (Erasmus +)
Lucas Le Gall grew up in Brittany, by the sea, using the tides, the waves and the kelp forest as a source of thrill and interest. After completing a biology and environment bachelor’s degree at the marine-oriented University of West Brittany in Brest, and conducting research on invasive clams, he went to Gothenburg, Sweden for the Sea & Society master’s program.
 
He interned at the Tjärnö marine station, researching the adaptation of the pacific oysters to low salinity conditions. Lucas also wrote his master thesis while there, on the dynamic management of the pacific oyster, an invasive species that threatens the Baltic.
 
After graduating, a desire to learn about different ecosystems than the ones of north Atlantic led Lucas to CCMI where he is an Erasmus+ intern with the research team.
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Leon Schlenger
Darwin Plus Research Intern

Leon is a passionate sea cucumber enthusiast from Berlin, Germany. At CCMI, he will be collaborating with Matt to study the impact of sea cucumbers on coral growth and reef health. He is fascinated by the often-overlooked species that shed light on how complex and interconnected ecosystem’s function.

Leon has worked for the Charité Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the past two years. He is currently enroled in a Master’s programme at the University of Potsdam, studying ecology, evolution, and conservation. His primary research interest is the dynamics of ecosystems under extreme environmental conditions. He aims to contribute to our understanding of how species and ecosystems respond to the dramatic environmental changes of recent decades. From exploring glaciers in Sweden’s Arctic Circle to working on coral restoration in the Seychelles, Leon has already participated in various research projects and is excited to continue research here at CCMI. Leon’s three-month internship at CCMI is funded by the UK Government through Darwin Plus.

Education Team

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Ryan McLaughlin
Education Assistant

Ryan McLaughlin is originally from California, and even though he did not grow up on the coast, the ocean was still a major part of his life. His passion for the ocean lead him to attend Humboldt State University in Northern California. Throughout his studies, he monitored and surveyed the rocky reefs of California with ReefCheck. Ryan first visited CCMI in 2019, through a summer program with Rutgers University, completing a three-week Coral Reef Ecology Course. In the spring of 2020, he graduated with a major in Marine Biology, a minor in Scientific Diving & a certified Divemaster with NAUI.

After graduation, Ryan furthered his diving career by getting certified as a SCUBA Instructor & First Aid Instructor through NAUI and working at Catalina Island Marine Institute as a dive Instructor and helping kids ages 12-18 explore the island and marine life through hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

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Anna Rasmussen
Education Assistant

Anna is a passionate educator and dive instructor from Denmark whose journey started in 2019 when she travelled to Cairns, Australia to become a dive instructor. She has since certified about 150 new divers, and she gained additional experience while working in the Mediterranean Sea around Sardinia, Italy.

Before arriving to Little Cayman in April 2024, Anna earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Copenhagen. As part of her studies, she developed an education programme that facilitates sustainable behaviour changes using psychology-based theories. The programme enabled young children to learn about the challenges of their local fish populations through role play and building fish nurseries out of household items.

During her study time she also worked as an Educator at Copenhagen Zoo as well as the Øresund Aquarium in Helsingør, Denmark. There she taught children about the wonders of the natural world. Anna is excited to be a part of the CCMI team, and she hopes to excite many new ambassadors of the ocean!

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Bennath Chillingworth
Reefs Go Live Intern

Bennath recently graduated as a Master of Research from Newcastle University (UK), where she completed her bachelor degree in marine biology the year prior. Her studies focused on seagrass ecosystems, specifically the impacts of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment on global seagrass meadows, and the carbon storage potentials of seagrass sediments in the Maldives.

While fundraising and increasing awareness of endangered species with the Cross River Gorilla Project, Bennath developed an interest in the use of social media and visual content to encourage pro-environmental attitudes and actions. At CCMI, Bennath will help with the production and development Reefs Go Live. She believes passionately about connecting people with the ocean as a means to motivate them to stewardship. Her time at CCMI is her first visit to the Caribbean; she is excited to contribute to ocean literacy outreach and allowing students to experience the reef virtually from around the globe!

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Brooke Enright
Marine Education Intern

Brooke Enright graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo with a B.S. in Biology and a certificate in the Marine Option Program. During her undergrad, Brooke worked on a research project analysing sewage pollution and water quality along local beaches in Hilo, HI. She also conducted research on fish predation prevalence on coral species in Hilo, HI. During this project, she surveyed more than 3,000 corals! Brooke is a past REEF Environmental Education Intern where she fell in love with sharing her passion for the marine environment with others. Most recently Brooke worked as a divemaster in the Florida Keys, and she worked closely with the nonprofit organization, Diveheart, which aids in scuba therapy for people with disabilities and veterans. Brooke is excited to be in the Cayman Islands for the first time and to be at CCMI as an education intern to aid in her personal mission of having accessible knowledge for all and focusing on underrepresentation in marine science.

Operations Team

Dr. Isabelle Schulz
Dr Isabelle Schulz
Field Station Manager

Dr Isabelle Schulz is a passionate marine biologist and advocate for ocean conservation, with a diverse background in research, policy, and management. Originally from Germany, Isabelle pursued a Bachelor's degree in Biology followed by a Master's degree in Marine Biology in Germany, followed by a Doctorate in Marine Ecology with a specialization in phytoplankton ecology at the prestigious Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany. During this time, she conducted groundbreaking research that contributed to our understanding of the intricate dynamics of marine life.

Following her doctoral studies, Isabelle spent four years as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, then relocated to Brussels, to champion German marine research on an international platform. There she advocated for sustainable practices and policies to safeguard our oceans' health through the German Consortium for Marine Research and JPI Oceans.

Isabelle was Station Manager at AWIPEV, an Arctic research station in Norway. She now brings her wealth of experience to CCMI in the much warmer Caribbean to run the Little Cayman Research Centre.

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Balt

Balt grew up in the coastal island town of Arrowsic, Maine. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, he worked as a biological field assistant, surveying everything from ticks in New Hampshire to mosquitoes in Greenland to hermit crabs off the Maine coast. In 2018, Dartmouth’s Biology Foreign Study Program brought him to CCMI, which rekindled a love for marine life from early childhood. He graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies.

Prior to joining CCMI in 2023, Balt worked for the California Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. As a hydrologic technician, he was involved in water quality monitoring in the Sacramento River Delta and San Francisco Bay, included calibrating instruments, troubleshooting data buoys, maintaining time-series data as a local data manager, and cruising through the Delta at the helm of various small research vessels.

At CCMI, Balt is involved with boat operations and general station upkeep.

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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, Lowell is responsible for keeping CCMI’s facilities maintained and captaining the boats. Originally from Guanaja, Honduras, 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.

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Devon Robinson
Chef

Devon Robinson joins CCMI with more than 30 years of experience in international and local cuisine. Cooking has always been his passion, and he has obtaining many certificates and a diploma in his chosen career. Devon has a lot of experience in high-end restaurants where he jointly worked with other executive chefs to ensure efficient and timely preparation of meals. Devon enjoys creating menus and preparing foods from scratch using a mix of authentic recipes that he has mastered over the years. This includes a strong background in vegetarian cooking!

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Desrine Daley

Desrine has been an invaluable member of CCMI’s team since 2023, serving as our dedicated Facility Specialist. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for maintaining a clean and welcoming environment, Desrine plays a crucial role in ensuring the Little Cayman Research Centre is always in top condition.

Her commitment to cleanliness and organization not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of our space; it also contributes to the health and safety of our staff and visitors. Desrin’s work ethic is unmatched, and her friendly demeanor makes her a favorite among colleagues and guests alike.

Her dedication to her role is evident in every corner of our facility, making her an indispensable part of our team.

Advancement Team

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Abbie Dosell
Head of Engagement and Fundraising

Abbie grew up in central England, about as far away from the ocean as physically possible in the UK. Despite this, she was fascinated by the marine world from an early age, and driven to make a difference with her career, which led her to an undergraduate degree in journalism and masters in marine ecology and conservation.

Abbie's early career was spent working on research projects across the Caribbean and Indo-pacific, primarily focused on coral reef ecology, followed by the last five years working in science-to-policy with a statutory scientific advice body for the UK and UK Overseas Territories Governments. Since joining CCMI at the end of 2023, Abbie's focus allows her to combine the two facets of her experience, her love of science with her passion for communications to bridge the gap between research and public engagement with conservation.

 

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.

Caiti Allison web
Caiti Allison
Reefs Go Live Intern

A South African by birth and spirit, Caiti hails from the East coast of South Africa, where her love for the ocean grew in kind with her upbringing in the surfing, fishing, and diving community. Caiti has recently completed her master’s degree in ichthyology and fisheries science, in which she examined the effects of ocean acidification on the aerobic scope of juvenile red roman (Chrysoblephus laticeps) - a prominent recreational and commercial line fishery species in South Africa. Having realised during the infancy of her career that there was a paucity in effective communication between scientists and the communities whom we serve, Caiti has poured her passion for writing, videography, and human connection into a science communication career. Caiti recently worked as the science communicator for the One Ocean Hub Deep Sea Capacity Development Cruise off the Amathole region of South Africa.

She now fills the role of the Reefs Go Live intern at CCMI, where she assists with the production of this project for the 2023 season.

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