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.

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.   

Research Team

Matt Doherty
Research Technician

Matt Doherty is originally from England, where he earned his bachelor's degree in marine science from Swansea University and his master's degree in environmental management from Nottingham Trent University. Matt's most recent post was in the Seychelles, where he managed the restoration programme for the Marine Conservation Society. Prior to that, he worked at the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute in Sint Eustatius where he completed his master's research and assisted with various research projects. Matt also has extensive experience with photogrammetry, having worked remotely for the University Haifa to create 3D models of coral reefs using machine learning technology as well as a strong background with statistical analyses and programming.

At the Little Cayman Research Centre, Matt's focus is primarily on CCMI's long-term coral monitoring projects, including the Healthy Reefs campaign, as well as monitoring involved with restoration and laboratory work for the National Science Foundation project.

Leaav Cohen
Leeav Cohen
Research Assistant

Originally from the United States, Leeav Cohen received his bachelor’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Miami. Throughout his studies, he helped conduct surveys in the Keys as a scientific diver with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Leeav is extremely passionate about anything water-related, stemming from his summers spent in Israel along the Red Sea. It was there that he first learned to dive and has since become a passionate technical diver. Witnessing the degradation of an ecosystem that he held near and dear to him throughout his life inspired Leeav to pursue a career in marine science. He is especially interested in examining the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems. Leeav first joined CCMI as a research intern and has since returned as a research assistant.

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.
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.

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.

Education Team

Reefs Go Live 2
Katie Ebanks
Education Manager

Katie first joined CCMI in February 2016, recently rejoined the team in March of 2022 as a volunteer, and she has now been named as Education Manager. She has a BSc in Marine Science and Coastal Geology from Coastal Carolina University and training from Nova Southeastern University's MSc in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management. In addition, Katie is a SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor and a DAN DEMP Instructor.

In her current role, Katie is responsible for the development, planning, execution, and support of the education programmes at CCMI, including providing oversight of CCMI's internship programmes and citizen science programmes. Katie leads all university level courses and further education programming, while assisting various research projects and teaching some K-12 programmes.

Katie’s love for the environment and oceans in particular has been a lifelong passion, one that fuels her desire to teach and engage with everyone about its beauty and importance. Her goal is to ensure that every person who comes through CCMI’s doors leaves inspired, with a better understanding of and a passion for our marine environment.

Liv Barnett
Ocean Science Scholar - Marine Education Intern

“Liv is thrilled to be joining the team at CCMI in Little Cayman for the summer!

Born and raised in Grand Cayman, Liv developed a passion and curiosity for nature and the environment at an early age. Whilst attending Cayman Prep, Liv participated in the Year 6 Marine Ecology Course and now, this summer, she will be there supporting the visiting students attending CCMI. Liv went on to attend Gordonstoun School in Scotland which has a keen focus on service and its broader curriculum, embarking on unaccompanied expeditions into the mountains, sail vessel training and discovering her passion for photography.

Obtaining her Advanced and Rescue dive certificates in Cayman during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowed her to actively work and volunteer with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment on the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response Team. Liv is also a certified lifeguard and actively involved in diving, surfing and conservation groups, both in Cayman and abroad.

In addition, last summer Liv covered over 1,700 miles as part of a crew sailing from Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle to Plockton in the West Coast of Scotland before starting University. Liv has just completed her initial year, pursuing a 3-year BA Honours degree at Falmouth University. Her area of study is focused on marine and natural history photography, capturing and documenting the diverse world above, and below the surface.”

Victoria Mann
Victoria Mann
Education Co-ordinator

Victoria Mann has been a member of the Cayman Islands community since 2019, when she moved here from the UK to work in a school. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology from University of Chester (UK) with a specialty in conservation. Prior to joining CCMI as the Education Co-ordinator, she spent four years working in a school environment, gaining teaching experience in both the UK and Grand Cayman. Victoria is familiar with CCMI as she has been an enthusiastic volunteer, supporting various events and programmes with us.

Whilst working in a school to obtain her PGCE teaching certificate, she shared her passion for conservation with students, including starting an environmental committee and an environmental club (which merged with the island-wide group Protect Our Future). Victoria has also volunteered with local conservation efforts through Cayman EcoDivers and their coral nurseries, Plastic Free Cayman with arranging underwater and above water clean-ups, and supporting the Cayman Islands Department of Environment Turtle Team.

Ryan photo
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.

Advancement Team

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.

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.

Support Team

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).

Women in Ocean Science Award

To learn more about CCMI’s Women in Ocean Science Award Scholars and Interns, please visit the WIOSA page.