Potential for Saudi Arabian coral reefs to shine

30 April, 2017

Marine surveys estimating fish population density and diversity are crucial to our understanding of how human activities impact coral reef ecosystems and to our ability to make informed management plans for sustainability. KAUST researchers recently conducted the first baseline surveys of reefs in the southern Red Sea by comparing reefs off the coast of Saudi Arabia with those of Sudan.   

“A major issue is that there is no established historical record for Red Sea ecosystems,” said Dr. Darren Coker, who worked on the project with KAUST M.S. Alumnus Alexander Kattan and Professor Michael Berumen all of the University’s Red Sea Research Center. “This means we can only hypothesize what the natural reef environment would have looked like before human interference through fishing began.”​​

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​Image: A large school of blackfin barracuda (Sphyraena genie); a top predator on Sudanese coral reefs in the Red Sea.
© 2017 Tane Sinclair-Taylor​​​