An explosion of biodiversity
The Red Sea is an extension (or inlet) of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. 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 unique factors that had an influence on the development of this marine ecosystem are:
- Coral species which settled in the Red Sea had to migrate through the heat threshold at Bab El Mandeb strait, so only very heat resistant coral survived.
- The Red Sea has the highest salinity rate of all the open seas.
- The 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 protecting our reefs, we not only risk the health of the species that live on them, but we directly affect our own health and survival as well.
The Red Sea contains one of the healthiest coral ecosystems in the world. This 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 experiencing significant warming and acidification phenomena.
It is therefore essential to study these particular coral reef ecosystems and document patterns and the impact of these rising temperatures. This local data could provide an insight into the potential 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 data essential to protect our coral reefs in the future.
How do we monitor the reef?
We follow international reef monitoring protocol as outlined by the ICRI and supported by GCRMN, UN and Reef Check, with adjustments made to suit our program parameters and the region we are monitoring. Our methods have been developed by our marine biologist, in consultation with the 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, which are often misunderstood and not taken into account when assessing the health of the reef.
FISH: The true extent and impact of overfishing is incalculable. Monitoring fish allows us to at least assess fish stocks and to gain an insight into understudied species.
DISEASES: With the rise of global warming we are noticing a peak in coral diseases globally. Monitoring allows us to determine deterioration rates of the reef and prevalence of certain coral diseases.
The data we collect provides an insight into the Red Sea reef health. In order to contribute valuable data to the wider research community, our data is available for anyone to use on request.
If you would like to access our data please send us an email and we can share it with you.