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Reef Lecture - Protecting the Future of Cayman’s Coral Reefs

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The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

Esterly Tibbetts Highway

Grand Cayman, George Town

Cayman Islands

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Event description
Dr Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley discusses how we can protect Cayman's coral reefs through resilience and restoration.

About this Event

While there are numerous local causes of coral loss (e.g., pollution, destructive fishing practices, etc.), the two most detrimental stressors currently impacting the survival of corals are bleaching caused by thermal stress and disease. As our ocean continues to warm and outbreaks of disease become more prevalent, it is critical to understand the capacity of organisms to adapt and/or acclimate to changing conditions and seek solutions to promote resilience and sustain biodiversity. Initiating a science-based restoration program in the Cayman Islands in 2011, CCMI has been and will continue to be a pioneer in the coral reef restoration arena. Current restoration empirical investigations coupled with available long-term ecosystem data at CCMI provides the basis for furthering knowledge of reef resilience. Here we will discuss results from our past restoration studies and present a new outlook for development of resilient coral populations through advanced restoration techniques that will shape the future of coral reefs in the Cayman Islands.

About the speaker:

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.

This event is free and open to everyone; donations to support our efforts to protect and restore coral reefs are appreciated. We invite you to join CCMI for this event, which is part of our 2020 Reef Lecture Series.

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Date and Time

Location

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

Esterly Tibbetts Highway

Grand Cayman, George Town

Cayman Islands

View Map

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