Most Read Contributor in Cayman Islands, September 2016
Last month, the Cayman Islands' Department of Environment
(DoE) began work on the Sister Islands as part of an exciting new
project, which aims to provide comprehensive data on regionally and
globally important seabird populations in the Cayman Islands. This
project is primarily funded by the Darwin Initiative, a UK
Government grant scheme aimed at helping to protect biodiversity
and the natural environment within the UK Overseas Territories.
Over the next two years, DoE will be working in partnership with
the National Trust of the Cayman Islands, and seabird experts from
the Universities of Liverpool and Exeter, UK, to collect urgently
needed information on the movements, ecology and status of resident
seabird populations. It is hoped that the knowledge gained through
this work will contribute to conservation management around the
Cayman Islands. The project will focus largely on red-footed
boobies (Sula sula) on Little Cayman and brown boobies
(Sula leucogaster) on Cayman Brac. While these species
breed in colonies on the Cayman Islands that are recognised as
globally and regionally important, they remain poorly understood
throughout much of their foraging range.
A combination of electronic tags and biogeochemical markers will
be used to provide insights into the habitat use, foraging
strategies and dietary habits of the birds. Breeding adults at the
Booby Pond Nature Reserve (red-footed boobies), and at multiple
sites on Cayman Brac (brown boobies), have been fitted with
miniaturised GPS loggers that trace their movements as they travel
over the ocean to find food. The data collected from these devices
should help to reveal the strategies that these animals use to
exploit their surrounding environment, and will enable the DoE to
identify appropriate conservation measures on land as well as at
Using visual survey methods, information on breeding behaviour
and population biology is also being collected at seabird colonies.
This information, in combination with previous data recorded by
volunteers, will allow scientists to assess the status of
populations, as well as develop longer-term seabird monitoring
The outputs of this project will feed directly into the
development of Species Conservation Plans that are required under
the National Conservation Law of the Cayman Islands.
For more information, please contact the DoE by phone (949-8469)
and/or email (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com),
or to learn about our latest activities follow us on twitter
Photo caption:Brown booby adult
and chick at nest on Cayman Brac beach (photo: R. Meier).
Photo caption:The seabird team
during colony work within the Booby Pond Nature Reserve, Little
Cayman (Left-to-right: Jane Haakonsson, Jonathan Green, Rhiannon
Meier, Stephen Votier and Jess Harvey; photo: J. Harvey).
Contact: Dr Rhiannon Meier, or Jane Haakonsson
at the Department of Environment
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