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CCMI’s Popular DIVE WITH A RESEARCHER Program Continues in 2009!

Dive with a Researcher at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Center Function of Fluorescent Proteins June 14 – 21, 2009 Special Price Reduction from $2300 to $1840

GEORGE TOWN, GRAND CAYMAN, February 13, 2009 – The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) invites divers to make a difference with a program called “Dive with a Researcher”  The program gives divers an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about coral reef conservation issues and efforts while helping collect and archive data during the dives.

A recent participant describes Dive with a Researcher as “a very enjoyable experience that made me feel as though I was actively doing something practical to help save the reefs.  I encourage anyone with a love of diving and a concern for the health of coral reefs to join”.

By joining the “Dive With A Researcher” (DWAR) program you assist our researchers collecting underwater data; gain a unique new diving experience; help directly fund the project you join;  and see first-hand what problems are resulting in regional and global declines on reefs and what scientists are doing to work to protect them.

Participants stay at the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC), next to Bloody Bay Marine Park on the North Shore of Little Cayman.  Accommodations and all meals for the one-week research mission are included in the program.

The LCRC is hosting its next DWAR June 14 – 21 2009.  The session will be researching the function of fluorescent proteins in corals.

RESEARCH MISSION
Scientists have discovered both green and red fluorescing proteins within corals however, the question remains: what is the function of fluorescent proteins on coral reefs? Are they acting as sunscreen, protecting the coral from the sun’s harmful rays? Are they acting to convert the energy of the sunlight into light that can drive photosynthesis? Are they providing a beacon to coral symbionts or other coral-inhabiting microbes that can detect light? These are a just a few of the many theories that have been put forward as to what role fluorescent proteins play on coral reefs.

As part of this expedition, volunteers will test several of these theories as well as isolate additional proteins from reef inhabitants to be employed for biomedical research.

This project aims to better understand fluorescent protein function and origin on coral reefs. Dives will be conducted during the day and at night to identify and photograph fluorescent organisms. From a select few organisms, molecular biological methods will be employed to clone and sequence the fluorescent proteins and other genes to molecularly characterize the organism.

RESEARCHER

Dr. David Gruber
Dr. David Gruber is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University. He holds Masters’ degrees in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University and Journalism from Columbia University as well as a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Dr. Carrie Manfrino
Oceanographer Carrie Manfrino is the president and founder of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute. Her Ph.D. was granted by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Marine Geology and Geophysics. She is an Associate Professor of Oceanography at Kean University and Visiting Associate Professor at Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Science. For fun, she teaches college courses in tropical ecology and conservation at the Little Cayman Research Center. She brings a lifetime of experience diving and researching both modern and ancient coral reefs. In 1999, Carrie and her team of marine scientists completed the first and largest regional expedition to understand the distribution and structure of the reef communities around all three Cayman Islands. This study continues to provide a reference for current and future research.

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