Photo: Tane Sinclair - Taylor
Table of Contents:
Message from the Director
RSRC Research Highlights
- Ancient viral genes may give corals a new lease on life - Trawl of Red Sea surface waters finds little plastic - KAUST Commits to Nature Conservation
Recent Workshops Student Awards www.rsrc.kaust.edu.sa
New people at RSRC Recent News
Red Sea Summer Program
RSRC New Acting Director Prof. Michael Berumen Message from the Director Welcome to this monthâ€™s Red Sea Research Center (RSRC) newsletter. Within these pages, we hope to give a glimpse into some of the activities happening in the RSRC and highlight some of the exciting outcomes from Center science. The RSRC has achieved much in its relatively short history. The credit for these achievements belongs to all of you for your hard work and dedication. The RSRC has some of the most talented people on campus, and I look forward to working with you all to continue building on the momentum youâ€™ve generated. Our task is to better understand the Red Sea and its inherent value to Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea may face challenges in the near future, starting with climate change impacts that we have already seen. Future developments planned for the Red Sea coast bring exciting opportunities to the region, but must be executed carefully to minimize environmental impacts. The RSRC is in a strong position to work in close collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure a sustainable future and a healthy Red Sea ecosystem. All KAUST researchers have access to amazing facilities, but above and beyond that, the RSRC has an additional unique resource to our advantage: we have the Red Sea at our doorstep. There are many exciting discoveries yet to come, with global impacts towards understanding marine ecosystems.
2 | Message from the Director
Michael Berumen Acting Director of KAUST Red Sea Research Center Professor of Marine Science
Extending collaboration at 2018 Innovation to Impact Forum
HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman tours the KAUST exhibit with (left to right) KAUST Interim President Al-Nasr, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Khalid Al-Falih, Vice President Najah Ashry, and Prof. Michael Berumen.
The second Innovation to Impact Forum was held at the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on March 24. The forum was developed to foster greater collaboration between academia, the private sector and government in Saudi Arabia and the United States. The one-day event was organized by a joint planning committee of institutions from Saudi Arabia and the Greater Boston area, and is part of an ongoing collaboration between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), KAUST, the Saudi Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (SMEA), MIT and other leading academic institutions and corporations from the U.S.
Prof. Carlos Duarte at Innovation to Impact Forum 2018
The highlight of the forum was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inauguration of several collaborations between U.S. and Saudi organizations. The 2018 Innovation to Impact Forum builds on the success of last year’s inaugural meeting, which took place on the KAUST campus with key decision makers and experts in energy, agriculture, technology, healthcare and bioscience. Through a series of roundtables this year, attendees explored solutions that align to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and U.S. goals to advance cutting-edge scientific research.
“ The fish in the display, wear-
ing the stress sensor developed from the KAUST sensor initiative, received much attention and promoted a broader conversation around ocean health“ - Prof. Carlos Duarte
Read more here. Extending Collaboration | 3
KAUST Research Workshop:
The Metaorganism Frontier February 18-22, 2018 Animals and plants alike are associated with a large diversity of microbes, forming complex associations that together comprise so-called metaorganisms. The metaorganism concept opens new routes to understand organismal health and environmental adaptation. From February 18-22, 2018, researchers from KAUST and international experts in microbial ecology and metaorganism evolution met to discuss issues of animal and plant health and adaption through the lens of the metaorganism. Organized by Profs. Christian Voolstra, Carlos Duarte, Heribert Hirt, and postdocs Maren Ziegler and Benjamin Hume, the research workshop consisted of a one-day research conference with a poster session and a subsequent two-day workshop. The conference was very well received and the workshop was productive with plans in the making for several scientific contributions. Both events were attended by a cheerful crowd that agreed on 2 things: “Metaorganisms are the new frontier in Life Sciences” and “Metaorganisms are awesome”.
Story by Christian R. Voolstra Associate Director of Red Sea Research Center Associate Professor of Marine Science
4 | Recent Workshops
Novel aspects of the sensors included using magnets to Red Sea monitor movement and behavior of animals, and materithat measure the concentration of hormones to asses Researchers Test als the heath of an organism. In addition to producing innovative sensors, the project also aims to create non-invathe First Wearable sive attachment methods. The workshop included using new 3D scanning technology, to create digital models for Marine Life of marine animals to customize tags that minimize the During the last week in February, a KAUST led workshop on animal sensor development and attachment was held at the Oceanografic (Valencia, Spain), the largest public aquarium in Europe. This aquarium is unique in that it not only educates the public about marine organisms, but also facilitates research with an aim to sustain marine ecosystems and with the support of a large team of marine biologists and veterinarians. The Sensor workshop was part of the CAASE project, led by Prof. Carlos M. Duarte, one of the five projects funded under the KAUST Sensor Initiative. CAASE aims to develop new sensors that can not only track animal movement and their behavior, but also utilize these animals to generate information about the ocean environment that would other wise be cost prohibitive to collect. The project is currently making tags that are lighter, less expensive, and can measure more variables than tags that are currently available.
discomfort and stress experienced by tagged animals. The project participants were from 4 different continents and included researchers from KAUST, MIT, Swansea University, UCLA, and AIMS. The success of the project was dependent on cross collaborations among KAUST departments, including the Red Sea Research Center and the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division. As part of the workshop, there was also a public presentation with four professors from the project, including Profs. Carlos Duarte and Muhammad Hussain from KAUST. The RSRC center was represented at the workshop by Prof. Carlos M Duarte, Dr. Nathan Geraldi and Katherine Rowe. A sea turtle in the large seal tank at Oceanografic with a non-invasive tag attachment method. The attached sensors include a commercially available camera and motion sensors produced by this project.
Story by: Nathan Geraldi Postdoctoral Fellow, RSRC, KAUST Carlos M. Duarte Professor of Marine Science, RSRC, KAUST
Recent Workshops | 5
Ancient viral genes may give corals a new lease on life Jumping genes could make an alga, and its coral host, more tolerant to warming sea temperatures. A particular gene is shown by KAUST researchers to help the heat tolerance of an alga that lives symbiotically with coral, which could potentially help Red Sea corals adapt to some warming. Symbiodinium is a unicellular alga that provides its coral host with photosynthetic products in return for nutrients and shelter. However, high sea temperatures can cause the breakdown of this symbiotic relationship and lead to the widespread expulsion of Symbiodinium from host tissues, an event known as coral beaching. If bleached corals do not recover, they starve to death, leaving only their white, calcium-carbonate exoskeleton.
Symbiodinium microadraticum is a unicellular alga that provides its coral host with photosynthetic products in return for nutrients and shelter. © 2017 Jit Ern Chen
Now, researchers from KAUST have identified special genes, called retrotransposons, which could help the algae adapt more rapidly to heat stress. The team, led by postdoc Jit Ern Chen and PhD student Guoxin Cui, conducted analyses to find out which genes were turned on or off when Symbiodinium was exposed to heat stress. Surprisingly, most genes commonly associated with heat stress were turned off, while a small number of retrotransposons were turned on. Retrotransposons are small genetic sequences that have the ability to replicate and position themselves in new locations in their host’s genome. “The ability of retrotransposons to copy themselves and integrate these new copies into the host genome makes them genetic parasites,” says geneticist and principal investigator, Prof. Manuel Aranda. “Every integration event is basically a new mutation in the host genome. Very often these new copies disable or disrupt host genes. However, sometimes they can also change how certain genes behave. They are often bad, like most mutations, but some can produce advantageous effects.” Aranda and his team suggest that the activation and replication of Symbiodinium’s retrotransposons in response to heat stress could lead to a faster evolutionary response, “since producing more mutations increases the chance of generating a beneficial one that allows the symbionts to cope better with this specific stress,” Aranda explains. Check the full story on KAUST Discovery here. 6 | Research Highlights
Trawl of Red Sea surface waters finds little plastic
Researchers are mapping global patterns of marine plastic pollution as alarm grows over floating rubbish. A team led by marine scientist Carlos Duarte from KAUST shows that the level of plastic debris in the Red Sea is relatively low. Samples of floating plastic rubbish were collected by the team from 120 sites along 1500km of shoreline on the eastern margin of the Red Sea during voyages in 2016-2017. The debris was captured in plankton nets dragged slowly just below the sea surface and the fragments were then painstakingly sorted into material type and size. Three-quarters of the collected rubbish was rigid fragments of broken objects. Plastic film, such as bags or wrapping, made up 17% percent, but there were only small amounts of fishing lines or nets (6%) and foam (4%). The relatively low levels of floating plastic in the Red Sea may either be due to there being fewer sources of rubbish or its faster removal, explains doctoral student, Cecilia Martin. Not much plastic comes from the land because this coastline has few of the usual polluting contributors.
A raw sample before sorting, showing one piece of blue plastic. © 2017, Cecilia Martin
“Usually the main source of plastic in the sea tends to be litter and mismanaged waste,” says Martin. “But on this coastline, the only large human settlement is Jeddah, with a population of 2.8 million people, and little tourism, so there are few people with the opportunity to litter.” Similarly, rivers globally provide 10-50% of discarded oceanic plastic, but because the Red Sea catchment has no permanent rivers, their contribution is negligible. “Instead, the winds and a few storms are most probably the main sources of plastic,” says Martin. “This is reflected in our findings of proportionally higher amounts of plastic films compared to global trends.”
Samples were carefully sorted into size and type of plastics. © 2017, Cecilia Martin
Read the full story on KAUST Discovery here. Research Highlights | 7
KAUST Commits to Nature Conservation
Photo: Danang A. Prabowo
Over the past few months, KAUST approved an Ibn Sina Field Research Station & Nature Conservation Area near King Abdullah Monument (KAM) in a joint proposal from the University’s Red Sea Research Center (RSRC) and the KAUST Health, Safety and Environment Department (HSE). The conservation area will span a wide coastal area encompassing 152 hectares from the beginning of the Safaa Garden neighborhood’s coastline mangroves apposite Safaa Island all the way up to KAM. “One of the University’s Environmental Stewardship Policy guiding principles is to facilitate environmental collaboration between the academic units and the administration,” said Dr. Mohamed S. Omar, Environmental Protection manager at KAUST. An important role played by the mangrove ecosystem is that it protects the coast are from erosion. KAUST HSE studies have shown that the mangrove populations at KAUST have increased by 20 percent in the last 10 years.
Photo: Marios Mantzourogiannis
Designating 152 hectares for nature conservation and research Prof. Carlos Duarte, Tarek Ahmed Juffali research chair in Red Sea ecology and former director of RSRC, is an expert in mangrove ecosystems. His group’s data matched with the marine study conducted by the KAUST Environmental Protection unit of HSE. In light of the fact that other faculty members were also engaged in studying mangroves, the discussion around establishing a field station gained traction. “Over the history of KAUST, there has been already significant work on the mangroves and also some of the other ecosystems in our coastal waters. However, up till now, it was relatively difficult even to access them because of the security regulations to access our coastal waters,” explained Duarte. This is why, given the healthy status of the mangroves, the interest of researchers and the efficiency of working on coastal waters, it became convenient to designate an area of coastal waters for research at KAUST. 8 | Research Highlights
Photo: HSE department 152 hectares of protected area reserved for nature conservation and research, sign of KAUST’s commitment to biodiversity.
Photo: Danang A. Prabowo
Deploying sophisticated data-collecting instruments “Also because the area is tightly protected, it means that we can deploy expensive instruments and other sophisticated equipment, collecting high quality data, in the water without the risk of them being disturbed,” added Duarte. Some of the data collection, and resulting research, which will now be made possible include the deployment of advanced logging instruments to study the growth and types of algae in the coastal waters near the King Abdullah Monument. “The one-hour resolution, which will be an unprecedented resolution, will help us to look at the dynamics of plankton. We also hope to look at the growth and population dynamics of seaweed and seagrass,” said Duarte. “Even though it’s a small area, it has a bit of everything. The fact that it will not be disturbed allows us to investigate in terms of experimental designs over the long-term.” essor Susana Agusti, also from the Red Sea Research Center, is working on the deployment of a state-ofthe-art buoy close to KAM. This piece of equipment will gather daily or hourly samples of the plankton and send back data through an Internet connection. “Conventional sampling techniques required going to sea to take samples. Then returning to the lab and examining the samples under the microscope and other instruments. This precludes sampling at the high-frequency scales (days or hours) required to capture the demographic dynamics of these fast growing organisms. The deployment of automatized instruments in the buoy enable the continuous sampling of plankton and will catalyze new discoveries,” said Agusti.
Establishing a base of knowledge for the Red Sea It’s also important to note that, unlike other marine environments with a longer track record of scientific inquiry, much remains unknown about the Red Sea. “We plan to monitor the plankton at the reliable time scales of changes, and this will help predict future responses,” said Agusti. “We will be pioneering this kind of information from the Red Sea.” The changing environment, as observed in the rising temperatures of the Red Sea, makes the KAUST coastal waters a living laboratory not only for Saudi Arabia, but will also help predict how other organisms and ecosystems elsewhere will progress as global temperatures rise. The team is planning some interesting ways to engage the community in this important institutional conservation effort. This includes the installation of a webcam that will allow KAUST residents to observe the marine environment from home. Click here to read more on this topic.
Research Highlights | 9
Prof. Carlos Duarte has been awarded the Blaise Pascal Medal and the Carlo Heip International Award The Blaise Pascal Medal For Science and Technology The European Academy of Sciences established the Blaise Pascal Medal in 2003 to recognize an outstanding and demonstrated personal contribution to science and technology, and the promotion of excellence in research and education. Up to six medals may be awarded in any one year. Prof. Carlos Duarte was nominated by the “Earth and Environmental Sciences” division. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Academy in the University of Bielefeld, Germany, between 18th and 20th of October, 2018. Read more here.
10 | Awards
The Carlo Heip International Award For Outstanding Accomplishments In Marine Biodiversity Science The Carlo Heip International Award for outstanding accomplishments in marine biodiversity science was inaugurated in recognition of Carlo Heip’s leadership in marine biodiversity research and founding of the ‘World Conference on Marine Biodiversity’. The inaugural Carlo Heip Award Recipient is Professor of Marine Science and former RSRC Director, Carlos M. Duarte. The award will be presented to him during the World Marine Biodiversity Conference (WCMB) at Montreal, Canada, May 13 - 16, 2018, where he will be a keynote speaker. “The late Carlo Heip was a friend and a collaborator in many projects—in scientific research and particularly in building the first European community and later a global community of practice in marine biodiversity, an important area of research that was lacking dedicated societies or conferences. I felt very sad and sorry for his loss and will be proud to receive an award carrying his name. I will also have the opportunity to talk about our joint research and efforts at community building during my plenary talk,” Duarte noted. Read more here.
RSRC Master’s Students Win “The Science of Storytelling“ Best Science Communication video award during the WEP 2018 RSRC Master’s students won a prize for “Best overall video“ during the WEP 2018 video award. Prizes were announced for winning teams in the following categories. • Best overall video • Best story • People’s choice (with live voting) • Women in science Here is the story that students shared with us. “We participated in the Science of Storytelling course as part of WEP this year. The course was led by Cinematic Science, which is a production company that specializes in science communication. Our project for the course was to create a video that communicated anything from science to KAUST community life, with the aim to improve our videography and communication skills. We had 2 days to come up with the idea for the video, as well as shoot and edit our short video using only mobile phones and GoPros. This process showed us that video making is accessible to anyone with these common technologies. We wanted to showcase this year’s master’s class from the Red Sea Research Center. We all come from different places around the globe, and we wanted to show how we are a diverse group with different backgrounds, research interests, and hobbies, but that we all followed our passion for marine science to come to KAUST and study the Red Sea. There is a hashtag on social media (#ActualLivingScientists) which scientists are now using to show that researchers come from all backgrounds and do a huge variety of things, both inside and outside of science. We used this theme to tell our story. **Go team!!** We had a lot of fun working together on this and experimenting with different filming techniques. We were encouraged by this course to communicate our science, and the skills that we learned will help us to do this in the future. We hope that our experience will also encourage others to do the same. “ Aislinn Dunne, USA Ann Marie Hulver, USA Celina Burkholz, Germany Gabriela Perna, Scotland, UK Georgina Short, England, UK Janna Leigh Randle, England, UK Lucia Pombo, Colombia Lyndsey Tanabe, USA
Watch the video here. Student Awards | 11
Article by David Murphy KAUST News
RSRC M.S. student Parsifal Islas Morales receives prestigious Mexican Award Parsifal Islas Morales, a master’s degree student in the University’s RSRC Reef Genomics Lab, was awarded the Cinna Lomnitz Medal by the Mexican parliament in recognition of his outstanding science communication work in his native Mexico. The Cinna Lomnitz Medal was established in 2017 in memory of the famous Mexican seismologist Cinna Lomnitz to award outstanding contributions of young Mexicans to science, culture and human rights. Islas Morales was awarded the Medal in Science last year in Mexico City during an honorary session of the Mexican Senate.
Creating a greater awareness of science in Mexico Islas Morales, who describes himself as a curious, academic individual who derives particular enjoyment from the enriching perspectives found between disciplines and cultures, obtained his undergraduate degree in biology from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). His thesis was in collaboration with KAUST and was focused on the cell architecture of giant bacteria E. fishelsoni from the Red Sea. In 2012, Islas Morales convinced a group of colleagues at UNAM to create an association devoted to science communication called “Pa’Ciencia la de Mexico.” Their goal was to create a greater awareness and understanding of the science being created and the scientific culture in Mexico with the country’s policymakers and the wider Mexican society. The other primary focus of the group is to share how scientific knowledge is produced and how critical scientific thinking can be incorporated into everyone’s lives.
“Cinna Lomnitz was one of the greatest Mexican scientists. The Rincon “We founded our organization ‘Pa’Ciencia la de Mexico,’ as Gallardo Foundation and the Mexican we were convinced that science communication is crucial to Senate wanted to continue his legacy convince people and politicians of the importance of scienby awarding young leaders in relevant subjects, from human rights to environ- tific research in our country. Once we established goals and a robust methodology with colleagues from the faculty of mental awareness and science. I was philosophy at UNAM, who were experts in science communivery honored to receive the Medal in cation, we decided to ask for governmental grants,” Morales Science and meet very talented people noted. who are making great things for Mexico. I see the medal as a recognition to my team in ‘Pa’Ciencia la de Mexico’ for our passion and commitment towards scientific culture in Mexico,” Islas MoClick here to read the full story. rales said.
12 | Student Awards
Article by David Murphy KAUST News
RSRC Ph.D. student Nils Rädecker wins best student presentation award at ECRS 2017
The global coral-bleaching problem
Rädecker, whose research focus is on nutrient cycling processes in cnidarian holobionts, said his award win caught him comNils Rädecker, a Ph.D. student in the University’s Reef Genomics Lab, won pletely unaware. a best student presentation award at “To be honest, the award notification caught me completely by the European Coral Reef Symposium surprise. The overall quality of talks at this conference was ex(ECRS) 2017. Rädecker’s talk entitled tremely good, so I didn’t think I would stand a chance. Of course, “Understanding coral bleaching in the now that I got the award, I am super excited. It was the perfect end to an already amazing conference experience,” he stressed. light of holobiont nutrient cycling” was focused on his work to decipher One of the focus areas of the University’s Reef Genomics Lab is the underlying mechanisms of coral to understand the phenomenon of coral bleaching. Of late, coral bleaching is decimating coral reef cover on a global scale. Under bleaching, or the breakdown of the symbiosis between corals and endo- the guidance of Associate Professor Christian Voolstra, Rädecksymbiotic algae due to ocean warm- er and his peers are trying to tackle this ecologically-damaging problem from numerous angles. ing. “I was presenting our most recent work on the environmental controls underlying nutrient exchange in this symbiosis and how this may add another piece to solving the coral bleaching puzzle,” Rädecker said.
A chicken or egg situation
Rädecker’s particular research focus lies on understanding the nutrient exchange between the coral host and algal symbiont. “In this nutrient exchange symbiosis, algae provide sugars that satisfy most of the energy requirements for growth and reproduction of the coral host. Hence, losing their algae during bleaching means losing a major energy source for the coral host,” The three-day event was hosted by he said. Reef Conservation UK (RCUK) and held at the University of Oxford from “In my Ph.D., I am dealing with a classic chicken or egg dilemma: December 13 to 15, 2017. ECRS 2017 What came first? Did the nutrient exchange cease because the marked the 20th anniversary of RCUK symbiosis was disrupted, or was the symbiosis disrupted because the nutrient exchange stopped?” and was organized in association with the International Society for Reef Studies, the Zoological Society of London and the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. Student Awards | 9
New People Timothy is a Master’s student with Professor Burt Jones in the Integrated Ocean Processes (IOP) lab. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Bremen, Germany in 2017. Timothy was previously in KAUST as a VSRP student in Prof. Burt Jones’ group in 2017. He is interested in the biogeochemical fluxes of marine coastal ecosystems. In this broad field he has worked on Seagrass and Coral systems and their responses to excess nutrients from varying sources. Currently Timothy is focusing on Mangrove forests in the Red Sea and their responses in a local nutrient enrichment experiment. He is also involved in entangling a coral reef food web in the Red Sea, using stable isotope analysis.
Timothy Thomson Master’s Student Biology
Eva is a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Burt Jones in the Integrated Ocean Processes (IOP) lab. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Spain in 2017. Eva’s main area of research is biodiversity assessment of benthic communities, and her work has largely focused on nearshore marine ecosystems subjected to human activities. Specifically, she is interested in the application of novel genetic techniques, such as DNA metabarcoding, to characterize a wide range of biological communities – from microbes to macroinvertebrates – that may be indicators of anthropogenic impacts in the marine ecosystem
Eva Aylagas Martinez, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow DNA Metabarcoding and Marine Biodiversity
Francisco Aparicio, Ph.D.
Biological Culture & Visualisation Technician
14 | RSRC New People
Fran is a Biological Culture and Visualisation Technician at RSRC. His research field is marine biochemistry. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from University of Catalunya (UPC) Barcelona, Spain. His thesis at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) of Barcelona, focused on tracing the dynamics of dissolved organic compounds (humic-like materials, protein-derived substances…) in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Fran’s main role in the RSRC is to manage, maintain and continue with the quality control of the microbial cultures. His daily tasks include interactions with diverse researchers, cultivation of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms, microscopic and molecular identification of cultures, isolation and identification of novel cultures, cryopreservation, visualization through flow cytometry and microscopy.
Red Sea Research Center features in NATDP Research Fair 2018 Red Sea Research Center featured in the third Symposium of the National Academic Talent Development Program (NATDP) held in KAUST Auditorium on March 22, 2018. RSRC was represented by students, postdocs and staff.
(left to right) Sebastian Schmidt-Roach, Eva Aylagas Martinez, Maha J. Cziesielski
In the symposium, KAUST hosted top academic leadership from universities all around Saudi Arabia including deans, vice deans, and faculty, along with lecturers and future academic talent from these universities.
The event’s objective is to strengthen partnerships with in-kingdom universities, and cultivate the next generation of Saudi faculty and academic leaders, while positioning KAUST as a destination for future academic talent to earn their higher education degrees. The event was attended by a total of 125 professors and scholars from 22 Universities throughout the kingdom.
Tullia Terraneo awarded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies Congratulations to Tullia Terraneo for being awarded $1900 from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. She has received the David Yellowlees Excellence in Research Award for her project “Using reproductive traits for delimiting species in Porites” Tullia is a Ph.D. candidate in Reef Ecology in Professor Michael Berumen’s lab in the RSRC, KAUST. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies undertakes world-class integrated research for the sustainable use and management of coral reefs. The Centre of Excellence takes a leading role in multi-national research programs. It is the largest single institutional contributor to the Global Coral Reef Targeted Research Program, funded by the World Bank, and is an Institutional Member of the Resilience Alliance. Recent News |15
Red Sea Summer Program July 21 - August 10 The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is pleased to announce an opportunity to study marine science in the Red Sea in the summer of 2018. The course will be held in summer 2018 (July 21 - August 10). The program will expose students to several aspects of Red Sea marine science, including genomics, ecology, biological oceanography, and microbiology. The course includes fieldwork, lab work, lectures, and data workshops. The course will be taught be a group of KAUST faculty who have expertise in these fields, tentatively including Profs. Christian Voolstra, Manuel Aranda, Xelu Moran, Burt Jones, Michael Berumen, and Takashi Gojobori. Each faculty member will present lectures giving an overview of their methods and recent work employing these techniques. This will be followed by opportunities to get hands-on experience with the techniques and associated data analysis, and, where relevant, sample collection in the field. Particular emphasis will be given to work done in the Red Sea, an exciting and dynamic system with untapped scientific potential. Each of the broad themes (i.e., genomics, microbiology, ecology, biological oceanography) will be represented throughout the course. The course intends to provide a fairly general introduction to each of these topics, although students will be exposed to cutting-edge current research carried out in these fields. Students will also be familiarized with the research facilities of the Red Sea Research Center and KAUST core labs, including the Biosciences Core Laboratory and the Coastal and Marine Resources Core Laboratory. Ship scheduling permitting, students will participate in a sampling trip aboard KAUST’s 35m (115’) research vessel, the R/V Thuwal. Successful applicants will receive full funding for travel, accommodation (private bedroom and bath in a shared residential suite), academic credit, and a stipend for the three-week period of study at KAUST. There are no fees associated with the course. Housing will be provided on the KAUST campus and students will have full access to KAUST recreational facilities. Students will also get a tour of Jeddah, including the historic old city, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Jeddah fish market.
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@rsrc_kaust 16 | Summer Program