Grand Cayman is nearly entirely surrounded by coral reef structures, which protect the island from waves.  As part of the Marine Term, habitat studies are conducted at a variety of sites around the island.

Even though the island is quite small, reef structure and health can vary greatly from one site to the next, depending on local conditions.  Diving pressure and other human influences are more extensive at some sites, while natural stresses such as heavier wave action on the windward side of the island are also factors affecting the reef.  By studying reef sites all around the island, an understanding is gained of which conditions are important in determining reef health.