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Recent Submissions

  • Can anyone be a scientist? Exploring the role of citizen science in coral reef research

    Camp, Miranda; Shein, Karsten; Abbott, J. Anthony; Foster, Kristie (2016)
    Individuals lacking scientific training have made important contributions in many disciplines historically, but the role and value of public participation in modern professional research is controversial within the scientific community. Beneficially, citizen scientists provide a source of labor, a variety of skills, and capital. This link between the public and research serves as a bridge between science and education, creating a more environmentally informed populace. Through a survey of participants and scientists, this study evaluates and compares the role of both public and student-oriented citizen science (CS) in coral reef research, as well as professional scientists’ perception on citizen science’s place within the discipline. Results were analyzed using a quantitative Likert scale. Based on responses to a survey, we identified two major points that could improve CS programs: local program context should be related to coral reef studies worldwide, and the CS program should instill ways in which a participant can remain active in environmental activities beyond the program. Addressing these disconnects could optimize the effectiveness of citizen science programming, and resulting outreach within coral reef research.
  • Production and carbonate dynamics of Halimeda incrassata (Ellis)Lamouroux altered by Thalassia testudinum Banks and Soland ex König

    Barry, S.C.; Frazer, T.K.; Jacoby, C.A. (2013)
    Ocean acidification poses a serious threat to a broad suite of calcifying organisms. Scleractinian corals and cal-careous algae that occupy shallow, tropical waters are vulnerable to global changes in ocean chemistry be-cause they already are subject to stressful and variable carbon dynamics at the local scale. For example, netheterotrophy increases carbon dioxide concentrations, and pH varies with diurnal fluctuations in photosyn-thesis and respiration. Few researchers, however, have investigated the possibility that carbon dioxide con-sumption during photosynthesis by non-calcifying photoautotrophs, such as seagrasses, can amelioratedeleterious effects of ocean acidification on sympatric calcareous algae. Naturally occurring variations inthe density of seagrasses and associated calcareous algae provide an ecologically relevant test of the hypoth-esis that dielfluctuations in water chemistry driven by cycles of photosynthesis and respiration withinseagrass beds create microenvironments that enhance macroalgal calcification. In Grape Tree Bay off LittleCayman Island BWI, we quantified net production and characterized calcification for thalli of the calcareousgreen algaHalimeda incrassatagrowing within beds ofThalassia testudinumwith varying shoot densities. Re-sults indicated that individualH.incrassatathalli were ~6% more calcified in dense seagrass beds. On an arealbasis, however, far more calcium carbonate was produced byH.incrassatain areas where seagrasses wereless dense due to higher rates of production. In addition, diel pH regimes in vegetated and unvegetatedareas within the lagoon were not significantly different, suggesting a high degree of water exchange andmixing throughout the lagoon. These results suggest that, especially in well-mixed lagoons, carbonate pro-duction by calcareous algae may be more related to biotic interactions between seagrasses and calcareousalgae than to seagrass-mediated changes in local water chemistry.
  • Optimizing the productivity of a coral nursery focused on staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis

    Lohr, Kathryn E.; Bejarano, Sonia; Lirman, Diego; Schopmeyer, Stephanie; Manfrino, Carrie (2015)
  • Cayman Islands: report of individual countries and territories

    Austin, T.; Bush, P.; Fenner, D.; Manfrino, C.; McCoy, C.; Miller, J.; Nagelkerken, I.; Polunin, N.; Weil, E.; Williams, I.; et al. (IUCNGland, Switzerland, 2014)
  • The Effects of coral bleaching in the northern Caribbean and western Atlantic

    Jones, Loureene; Acolado, P.; Cala, Y.; Cobi Án, D.; Coelho, V.; Hernández, A.; Jones, Ross J; Mallela, Jennie; Manfrino, C.; Wilkinson, C.; et al. (Global Coral Reef Monitoring NetworkTownsville, Australia, 2008)
  • Status of coral reefs in the northern Caribbean and western Atlantic GCRMN Node in 2008

    Creary, M.; Alcolado, P; Coelho, V.; Crabbe, J.; Green, S.; Geraldes, F.; Ainsley, H.; Hibbert, H.; Jones, R.; Jones-Smith, L.; et al. (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research CentreTownsville, Australia, 2008)
  • First record of the basslet Gramma dejongi outside of Cuba

    Lohr, K.E.; Camp, E.F.; Manfrino, C. (2013)
  • A Positive trajectory for corals at Little Cayman Island

    Manfrino, C.; Jacoby, C.A.; Frazer, T.K. (2013)
    Coral reefs are damaged by natural disturbances and local and global anthropogenic stresses. As stresses intensify, so do debates about whether reefs will recover after significant damage. True headway in this debate requires documented temporal trajectories for coral assemblages subjected to various combinations of stresses; therefore, we report relevant changes in coral assemblages at Little Cayman Island. Between 1999 and 2012, spatiotemporal patterns in cover, densities of juveniles and size structure of assemblages were documented inside and outside marine protected areas using transects, quadrats and measurements of maximum diameters. Over five years, bleaching and disease caused live cover to decrease from 26% to 14%, with full recovery seven years later. Juvenile densities varied, reaching a maximum in 2010. Both patterns were consistent within and outside protected areas. In addition, dominant coral species persisted within and outside protected areas although their size frequency distributions varied temporally and spatially. The health of the coral assemblage and the similarity of responses across levels of protection suggested that negligible anthropogenic disturbance at the local scale was a key factor underlying the observed resilience.
  • Caribbean corals in crisis: record thermal stress, bleaching, and mortality in 2005

    Eakin, C.Mark; Morgan, Jessica A; Heron, Scott F; Smith, Tyler, B.; Liu, Gang; Alvarez- Filip, Lorenzo; Baca, Bart; Bartels, Erich; Bastidas, Carolina; Bouchon, Claude; et al. (2010)
    Background:The rising temperature of the world’s oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severityand frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropicalAtlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin.Methodology/Principal Findings:Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers’ field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles.Conclusions/Significance:Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA CoralReef Watch’s Degree Heating Weeks) and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality willundoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate
  • Coping with the Lionfish Invasion: can targeted removals yield beneficial effects?

    Frazer, T. K.; Jacoby, C.A.; Edwards, M.A.; Barry, S.C.; Manfrino, C.M. (2012)
    Invasive species generate significant environmental and economic costs, with maintenance management constituting a major expenditure. Such costs are generated by invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois spp.) that further threaten already stressed coral reefs in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This brief review documents rapid range expansion and potential impacts of lionfish. In addition, preliminary experimental data from targeted removals contribute to debates about maintenance management. Removals at sites off Little Cayman Island shifted the size frequency distribution of remaining lionfish toward smaller individuals whose stomachs contained less prey and fewer fish. Fewer lionfish and decreased predation on threatened grouper, herbivores and other economically and ecologically important fishes represent key steps toward protecting reefs. However, complete evaluation of success requires long-term data detailing immigration and recruitment bylionfish, compensatory growth and reproduction of lionfish, reduced direct effects on prey assemblages, and reduced indirect effects mediated by competition for food. Preventing introductions is the best way to avoid impacts from invasive species and early detection linked to rapid response ranks second. Nevertheless, results from this case study suggest that targeted removals represent a viable option for shifting direct impacts of invasive lionfish away from highly vulnerable components of ecosystems.
  • Green Guide to the Cayman Islands 3: Sustaining our ocean and islands

    Manfrino, C.; Ecott, T (Central Caribbean Marine InstituteGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 2010)
    (pdf contains 32 pages)
  • Green Guide to the Cayman Islands 2: Climate change and the sea around us

    Manfrino, C. (Central Caribbean Marine InstituteGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 2009)
    This Green Guide provides a brief summary of the alarming evidence of changing climate in theCayman Islands. As we illustrated in our first Green Guide (2008), our lives on these three magicalislands are intimately connected to the land and the surrounding sea. Our economy depends onkeeping our islands healthy, because our coral reefs, our beaches, our natural heritage, all draw manythousands of overseas visitors to our shores. It is our responsibility, as stakeholders sharing thisbeautiful environment, to do what we can to minimise our impact upon it... [PDF contains 32 pages]
  • Green Guide to the Cayman Islands 1: The marine environment

    Manfrino, C. (Central Caribbean Marine InstituteGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands, 2008)
    In the Cayman Islands we are enriched with a wonderful natural environment. In this Green Guide to ourMarine Environment we hope to show you how all of our lives on these three magical islands are intimatelyconnected to the land and the sea that surrounds it.Like many of our Caribbean neighbours, a large proportion of our economy depends on reef-based fishing, diving and tourism. The beauty of our coral reefs, our beaches and our lagoons is that it is part of our heritage, and it draws many thousands of overseas visitors to our shores. It is our responsibility, as stakeholders sharing this beautiful environment, to do what we can to minimise our impact upon it. Ogier has sponsored the Green Guide, and through this publication, is helping us to preserve our natural andcultural heritage.... [PDF contains 32 pages]