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.
hard coral species
Its corals extend
more than 2000 Km.
Many of its species
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
Marine ecosystems provide 80% of the planet’s oxygen. Without reefs, we not only risk the immediate health of the species that live on it, but we directly affect ours as well.
The Red Sea contains one of the healthiest coral ecosystems in the world. That is because the corals are very resilient to high temperature changes, which is a characteristic they adopted from their ancestors. This tolerance means that they will most likely be the last to survive in a world that is undergoing very significant warming and acidification phenomena.
Therefore it is essential to study the Red Sea coral reef ecosystems and document the patterns and impact of these rising temperatures as this data could provide an insight into the survival mechanisms 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.
How do 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 surveys are conducted monthly around specific dive sites in Dahab chosen for their topography and proximity to the shoreline.
We use belt transect for fish, invertebrates and coral damage and we use point line transects for coral surveys.
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.