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Reef Monitoring - red coral, Dahab

"I need the sea because it teaches me" Pablo Neruda

An explosion of biodiversity

The Red Sea is an extension (or inlet) of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. And it is, without doubt, one of the most unique bodies of water in the world.


Over 1000
different fish


Over 230
hard coral species

Kilometres of Reef

Its corals extend
more than 2000 Km.

Red Sea Endemic

Many of its species
are endemic

Some of the factors that had a huge influence on the development of this unique marine ecosystem are:

  • Red Sea is surrounded by one of the hottest and driest landscapes on Earth.
  • Red Sea has the highest salinity of all the open seas.
  • Red Sea is the only deep ocean that remains warm to great depths, yet its surface waters remain pleasantly cool.

The key for the future of our oceans

Coral is vital to the future of the ocean but rising temperatures in the global ocean are causing the death of coral reefs due to coral bleaching.

The Red Sea contains one of the healthiest coral reef systems in the world. The corals on its reef are very resilient to high temperature changes, and are most likely going to be the last to survive in a world undergoing very significant warming and acidification of seawater.

This means it is an ideal place to study the impact of these rising temperatures and the data collected from coral surrounding Dahab could provide a vital insight into the survival of our global coral reef ecosystem.

Our Data Collection

At Project Azraq we consistently monitor the reefs and provide the marine research community with the data they need to protect our coral reefs for the future.

As the Red Sea water is so warm it is an ideal place to study the impact of these rising temperatures and it is thought that there might be a heat resistant algae that exists in the corals here. This means the data collected from coral surrounding Dahab could be vital to the survival of our global coral reef ecosystem.

How we monitor the reef?

We follow international reef monitoring protocol as outlined by the ICRI supported by GCRMN, UN and Reef Check with adjustments made to suit our programmes parameters and the region we are monitoring. Our methods have been developed in consultation with Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGGRA).

Our data is collected monthly from 3 specific dive sites in Dahab. We use belt transect for fish, invertebrates and coral damage and point line transects for corals. All our transect lines are 30m long and placed at 5,10 and 15m depths.

Which data we collect and why?

CORALS: Monitoring corals provides an insight into the overall health of the ocean.

INVERTEBRATES: These simple life forms play complex ecological roles that are often misunderstood and not taken into account when accessing health of the reef therefore need to be studied.

FISH: The extent of overfishing is often unquantified therefore monitoring allows us to assess fish stocks and gain an insight into understudied species

DISEASES: With the rise of global warming we are noticing a peak in coral diseases globally. Therefore monitoring allows us to determine deterioration rates of the reef and prevalence of certain coral diseases.

The data we collect provide an insight into the Red Sea reef health therefore in order contribute valuable data to the research community our data is available for anyone to use on request.

If you would like to access our data please feel free to send us an email and we can share it with you.


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