Third Red Sea Expedition Underway at KAUST
THUWAL, Saudi Arabia, December 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –
The third Red Sea Expedition of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
(KAUST) is almost complete, having set sail from the University on September 15. This
81-day research voyage is the debut expedition for the new Director of the Red Sea
Research Center, Xabier Irigoien, who joined KAUST only a few weeks prior. Irigoien was
previously the Head of the Pelagic Fisheries and Biological Oceanography at AZTI
(Institute for Fisheries and Food Science) in Pasaia, Spain, and holds a PhD in
Oceanography from the University of Bordeaux, France.
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The 2011 KAUST Red Sea Expedition (KRSE) involves about 60 faculty and researchers
from KAUST and some of the world’s premier marine science institutions: Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), USA; American University of Cairo (AUC), Egypt; Hellenic
Center for Marine Research (HCMR), Greece; and Hong Kong University of Science and
Technology (HKUST), China. The expedition also involves national participants: King
Abdulaziz University, Ministry of Agriculture, Saudi Geological Survey, and General
Commission of Survey of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation.
“The expedition’s cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary initiative aims to advance marine
science and education in Saudi Arabia. Because of its wide scope and the state-of-the-art
technology involved, it will be remembered as a milestone in marine research in the Red
Sea,” explained Irigoien.
Aboard the 62 meter long research vessel Aegaeo, researchers perform various
measurements and collect samples for many studies, including large-scale oceanography,
brine pool and deep-sea microbiology, colds seeps and associated biota, as well as deep
and mid-water fauna.
The expedition’s sampling strategy is actualized through the expertise of the
researchers and the use of state-of-the-art equipment, including autonomous self-recording
oceanographic instruments and underwater observation systems (both manned and
“The scale of KRSE is just tremendous, given the peculiarities of the research
objectives involved and the challenges associated with achieving the sampling
requirements,” said Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Suwailem, Manager of KAUST’s Coastal and Marine
Resources Core Lab, who spearheaded the expedition preparations.
The diversified scope of the expedition is highly multidisciplinary. While the KAUST
scientists and researchers involved are mostly from the University’s Red Sea Research
Center, other centers and labs participating in the research and sample analyses include
KAUST’s Water Desalination and Reuse Center; Physical Sciences and Engineering Division;
Analytical Core Lab; Advanced Nanotechnology, Imaging, and Characterization Core Lab; and
Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab.
Legs one through four have involved large-scale hydrographic sampling at over 100
stations; microbiological studies analyzing the differences between brine pools and
non-brine pools; study of mesopelagic fishes and brine pools through the deployment of
acoustic and camera moorings; and investigation into a KRSE 2010 discovery: a cold brine
The current, final leg is investigating the possible occurrence of deepwater corals
beyond the reach of sunlight and sample collection of deep fauna.
KAUST is an international, graduate level university committed to advancing science
and technology through transdisciplinary research, education, and innovation. The
University’s unique matrix structure supports both basic and goal-oriented research in the
globally significant areas of energy, water, food, and environment.
The University is located on the shores of the Red Sea, about 90 kilometers (50 miles)
north of Jeddah. The total area of the self-contained community spans about 36 million
square meters, including a unique coral reef ecosystem that the University preserves as a
marine sanctuary. In 2011, KAUST was named “Lab of the Year” by leading science and
technology publication, R&D Magazine.
More information KAUST [http://www.kaust.edu.sa ] Marine Science Faculty and Student Openings [http://www.kaust.edu.sa/academics/faculty/red_sea_advert.pdf ] KAUST Red Sea Expedition 2011 [http://krse.kaust.edu.sa ] Red Sea Research Center [http://rsrc.kaust.edu.sa/pages/home.aspx ] Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab [http://cmor.kaust.edu.sa/Pages/Home.aspx ]
For more information: Christopher Sands, Head of University Communications firstname.lastname@example.org +966-54-470-1201
SOURCE King Abdullah University of Science & Technology