Help Endangered Corals in the Cayman Islands
Where: Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
Focus: Discovering how to help corals in the Cayman Islands survive climate change through coral reef surveying and maintaining coral nurseries.
- Adult Teams – Over 18s, although volunteers aged 15-17 are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Teen Teams – All volunteers aged between 15-18.
- Group bookings on request.
When: Set expedition dates – Adult: April, October and December. Teen: July
Duration: 7 days
Cost: Expeditions starts from – Adult: GBP 1950 | Teen: GBP 2225.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Snorkel and survey coral reefs. Volunteers take photos and record what species of coral grow where (with a focus on rare and endangered species). Plus, the type and colour of the coral and the abundance of fish and sea urchins.
- Work towards creating a map of the island’s entire reef system by taking GPS coordinates of reef features.
- Record environmental data such as water depth and temperature in order to show what conditions work for different corals and overall reef health.
- Learn how coral nurseries work and help researchers build the structures used to grow new staghorn corals (an important coral species). Volunteers also find out about how new corals grow and how they get put back onto the reef.
- Learn how to handle coral fragments and help prepare the reef for coral outplants. Once back on the reef, volunteers will photograph outplanted corals, and measure coral fragments that have been outplanted to track their growth.
- Help record data on how corals grow by locating coral colonies, recording their GPS coordinates, and removing any algae (if necessary). Additionally, volunteers take coral tissue measurements and photograph coral skeletons.
- Enter the data collected and compare photographs of how the reef looked in the past and the present.
The volunteer accommodation varies on Little Cayman depending on the time of year:
Summer: Volunteers stay at the Sunset Cove, hotel-style accomodation set in a sheltered lagoon. Two people share per room.
Autumn: Volunteers stay at the Little Cayman Research Centre. This complex has dorm-style rooms that accommodate up to six people, as well as a kitchen, classrooms, and a detached, sustainably designed bathroom and shower block.
Food: 3 meals a day prepared by a local chef.
The next step: Visit Earthwatch for more info and to book.
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