Virtual Tours: Cayman Islands
The Full Tour
Features of Natural Interest
Features of Other Interest, including Cultural
Threats / Problems / Issues
Projects / Conservation Actions
Organisations and Links
Tour Selection
Features of Natural Interest

The marine environment of the Caymans is dominated by the islands’ fringing reefs. These are composed of a diverse range of hard and soft corals, including nine threatened species. Major coral bleaching events occurred in 2005 and 2009. During the 2005 event, over 85% of the coral was bleached in some areas, although only around 10% long-term mortality was observed around Grand Cayman. The reefs play crucial roles in controlling the coastal sand budget, and help reduce the impact of oceanic storms by absorbing wave energy. They also shelter extensive seagrass beds which occur between the reef and the shore. These seagrass beds are important nursery habitats for many fish and crustacean species.

Sandy Point, at the east end of Little Cayman, showing the fringing reef and the seas breaking at the reef edge.

© Dr Mike Pienkowski
(Features of Natural Interest, 1 of 20 - Slide ref. 1056)