ICON Reef, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands (LCIY2)
This station is within or nearThe coral reefs of Little Cayman are arguably the best in the Caribbean for research due to the fact that they are isolated from continental and anthropogenic influences and support some of the most biologically diverse reef systems in the Caribbean. The water quality is excellent, there are over 423 species of fish, 37 species of coral, and shallow lagoon, wall, and deep ocean (several thousand meters) habitats are all within swimming distance of each other and the LCRC field station. The Cayman Islands are located in the central Caribbean Sea, about 240 km south of Cuba. They comprise three small, low-lying limestone islands: Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac. Little Cayman Island is 10 miles long and 1 mile wide and over half the island consists of marine-protected areas. In addition to a diverse set of oceanographic cirumstances, the reefs contain large populations of mega fauna including spotted eagle rays, one of the last spawning aggregations of the Nassau grouper, hawksbill and green turtles, and a healthy shark population - all protected by the Bloody Bay Marine Park authority. This combination of water quality, diverse coral and fish species, and abundance of easily seen large mammels and fish is also why Little Cayman has been rated the top diving destination in the Caribbean many times over.
Bloody Bay Marine Park, Little Cayman
Integrated Coral Observing Network SUCCESSFULLY INSTALLED at LCRC
NOAA ICON expansion plans include reef sites throughout the world. A recent example of this is the now successful collaboration betwen ICON and the Central Caribbean Marine Institute to install an ICON/CREWS in situ monitoring station on the nearly pristine reefs offshore of their Little Cayman Research Centre. On Thursday, April 16, 2009, the ICON 'stick' completed construction at NOAA AOML in Miami, and was shipped to Little Cayman via container ship the following day! During the week of July 20, 2009, the station was erected at the designated site, and all environmental sensors were successfully installed and began regular hourly transmissions (see DATA link above). This ICON site is now being monitored directly via these in situ instruments, and remotely via a variety of satellite data products, for conditions conducive to environmental events such as coral bleaching, invertebrate spawning, and nutrient/larval delivery.
Please click on the menu items above to access the latest data, query forms, graphs, and other content for this latest of the ICON/CREWS stations!