The aim of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project is to transform the Red Sea coast into a world-class tourist destination.
The aim of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project is to transform the Red Sea coast into a world-class tourist destination. The Al-Wajh lagoon on the country’s northwestern coast has been declared a conservation zone and a key host site. KAUST researchers involved in consultations related to the Red Sea Project have recently uncovered an interesting phenomenon linked to phytoplankton blooms in the lagoon.
“Coastal lagoons form distinctive, diverse ecosystems that hold considerable scientific and economic importance,” says Peng Zhan, a former KAUST researcher who worked on the project with colleagues from the Red Sea Modeling and Prediction group led by Ibrahim Hoteit and co-workers in Greece. Zhan has since joined the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China and still collaborates closely with the KAUST team.
Fluctuations in the availability of phytoplankton — a keystone species forming the basis of the food chain — are critical to the health of marine life. However, little is known about the phytoplankton cycle in tropical lagoons.
Read More at: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Phytoplankton blooms in the Al-Wajh lagoon (pictured) are seasonally decoupled from blooms in the adjacent Red Sea. (Photo Credit: © 2022 KAUST; Morgan Bennett Smith)