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ICON System Process In Advance Stage
By Matt J. Weiss, February 19, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Caymannetnews.com
The first steps towards the installation of the new Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) station on the north coast of Little Cayman will be completed in early April. Step one is to utilize an underwater hydraulic drill to bore 16 holes into the sea floor.

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment will provide critical support by bringing their vessel “Sea Keeper” to Little Cayman to drill. Dr Jim Hendee and Jules Craynock of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Central Caribbean Marine Institution (CCMI) Director of Research, Dr Carrie Manfrino and Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC) Station Manager, Jon Clamp will provide oversight for the work.

The ICON Station will consist of an array of instruments to measure the physical and chemical characteristics of the ocean and atmosphere. Data collected will include salinity, temperature, ultra-violet radiation penetration, water clarity, currents and weather conditions.

One of the major benefits of the ICON project is that observed long-term trends will allow local environmental managers and researchers to make better informed decisions for the reef area. Near real-time feedback is important because it allows researchers to visit a site right away to see if modeled conditions (for example bleaching and disease) are met, and also to give the coastal and coral managers a means of knowing more precisely the immediate status of the Park in question.

This helps them to make timely decisions relevant to the health of the reef. Through the CCMI/NOAA partnership, Little Cayman is now one of the international sites outside the US to be selected to have an ICON station for coral reef research.

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