Marine Science Trip to CCMI November 2018
Our Year 12 and 13 A-Level Marine Science students conducted some hands on research this week at the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC) in CCMI's three-day Marine Ecology Course (MEC). This course transformed their academic studies into 'real life' conservation research, bridging the gap between their knowledge and action.
The students split into the dive team and the snorkelling team to investigate the phenomenon of phase shift – where the dominant biota of the reef changes from coral to macro-algae. They reviewed the scientific literature, suggested hypotheses, and then tested them using transect lines, quadrats and underwater photography.
Surveying the abundance of macro algae is no easy task! On the reef (diving to 50ft) the dive team enjoyed the company of sharks, turtles and grouper while focusing on their readings. Whereas in the sea grass (45m from shore) the snorkelling team were heavily buffeted by waves and winds – but research still must go on! After analysing their raw data and reviewing other relevant research (lots of Google Scholar searching) they presented their findings on the final morning to CCMI's resident scientists – who were hugely impressed.
As well as working their socks off the group also snorkelled at Point of Sand, conducted a beach clean-up, made artwork out of driftwood, and saw the magnificent frigate birds in their mating splendour at the National Trust Nature Reserve. This marvellous, hardworking group of students (and teachers!) saw the beauty of Little Cayman both above and below water, and were truly inspired to protect and conserve this natural treasure for future generations.