• Default Slider Image
  • Slider image 1
  • slider image 3
  • slider image 4

Open Science Conference 2018
28 - 29 November 2018
Auditorium, Building 20


  • Day 1Wednesday, November 28th
  • Day 2Thursday, November 29th
Morning session
8:30 am

Opening speech

Auditorium, Building 20 08:30 - 08:35 Details

8:35 am

Keynote lecture: Designing Marine Protected Areas to Benefit People and Nature

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), particularly no-take marine reserves, can be powerful tools for conservation and management. However, they are only effective if they are well designed and effectively managed. To ensure that MPAs will benefit both people and nature, they need clear objectives and design criteria that address biophysical, socioeconomic, cultural and governance considerations. I will review the biophysical criteria for designing MPAs so they will enhance fisheries and protect biodiversity in the face to climate change, and describe how we have used this science based approach to help improve the design of MPAs in tropical marine environments in over 20 countries worldwide.

Chair: Ann Marie Hulver

Auditorium, Building 20 08:35 - 09:10 Details

Dr. Alison Green, The Nature Conservancy, Australia
9:10 am

Session 1: Animal physiology and adaptation

9:10 Linking osmoadaptation and thermotolerance in corals
Hagen Gegner, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

9:25 Meta-analysis reveals host-dependent nitrogen recycling as a mechanism of symbiont control in Aiptasia
Guoxin Cui, KAUST PI: Manuel Aranda

9:40 Investigating cnidarian host-symbiont relations and metabolic compatibility during heat stress
Maha Cziesielski, KAUST PI: Manuel Aranda

9:55 Dissolved organic carbon dynamics and contribution to oxygen respiration in the central Red Sea
Dr. Maria Calleja, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

​Session Chair: Dr. Marco Fusi

Auditorium, Building 20 09:10 - 22:25 Details

10:25 am

Coffee break and group photo of conference attendees

Auditorium, Building 20 10:25 - 10:45 Details

10:45 am

Session 2: Microbiology: Microbiomes

10:45 The bacterial microbiome of Tridacna maxima
Susann Rossbach, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

11:00 Using the Aiptasia model system to test the coral probiotic hypothesis: trials on a bacterial-depleted system
Rúben Costa, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

11:15 Insights into bacterial community changes following heat and salinity treatments in Aiptasia
Janna Randle, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

11:30 Disentangling the complex microbiological network within vulnerable coral reef ecosystems
Dr. Eva Aylagas Martinez, KAUST PI: Burt Jones

11:45 The Red Sea pelagic microbiome
Dr. Tamara Huete-Stauffer, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

Session Chair: John Gittings

Auditorium, Building 20 10:45 - 12:00 Details

12:00 pm

Lunch/Lunch with Keynote speakers

KAUST 12:00 - 13:30 Details

Afternoon session
1:30 pm

Keynote lecture: Origins and Conservation of The Coral Triangle Biodiversity Hotspot

The Coral Triangle is the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. These marine resources are a critical source of jobs and food security in this region. Despite this importance, the reefs of the Coral Triangle are in decline, threatening the stability of this ecosystem and the services it provides humanity. A major obstacle to achieving sustainability in the Coral Triangle is that the size and biological diversity in this region exceeds the science capacity needed to understand its dynamics and to educate the public on its importance. A key to developing this capacity is international partnerships that leverage expertise and resources from the international scientific community with the passion and knowledge of local scientists. Results from genetic and genomic tools highlight the importance of vicariance and ecological speciation in shaping the Coral Triangle biodiversity hotspot. Importantly, by conducting this work in the context of collaborative science capacity building, this work advances our understanding of the processes generating biodiversity in the Coral Triangle while generating data and human resources that will be essential for its protection.

Chair: Matthew Tietbohl

Auditorium, Building 20 13:30 - 14:05 Details

Prof. Paul Barber, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
2:05 pm

Session 3: Population structure and community diversity

14:05 Latitudinal Gradients and Coral Reef Benthic Characteristics Affecting Cryptic Communities in the Red Sea
Rodrigo Villalobos, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

14:20 SymPortal: a novel analytical framework and platform for coral algal symbiont next-generation sequencing ITS2 profiling (one year on)
Dr. Benjamin Hume, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

14:35 Simulating Coral Reef Connectivity at the Southern Red Sea
Yixin Wang, KAUST PI: Ibrahim Hoteit

14:50 Profiling the genetic diversity and structure of Pocilloporid coral populations along the Red Sea using a population genomics approach
Carol N Buitrago Lopez, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

Session Chair: Nojood Aalismail

Auditorium, Building 20 14:05 - 15:05 Details

3:05 pm

Coffee break

Auditorium, Building 20 15:05 - 15:20 Details

3:20 pm

Session 4: Microbiology: Pelagic microbial physiology

15:20 Lysogeny in the natural microbial communities in the Red Sea
Ruba Ashy, KAUST PI: Susana Agusti

15:35 Seasonal variation of viruses and heterotrophic nanoflagellates and their potential impact on heterotrophic bacterioplankton in a Red Sea shallow ecosystemnt next-generation sequencing ITS2 profiling (one year on)
Eman Sabbagh, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

15:50 Quantitative estimation of PAH absorption in phytoplankton cells
Malak Abdallah, KAUST PI: Susana Agusti

16:05 Airborne Prokaryote and Virus abundance over the Red Sea
Razan Yahya, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

16:20 Remotely-sensing phytoplankton size structure in the Red Sea
John Gittings, KAUST PI: Ibrahim Hoteit

16:35 Responses to experimental warming of heterotrophic bacteria associated with a Red Sea Synechococcus strain
Abbrar Labban, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

16:50 Heterotrophic bacteria growth rates in the warm Red Sea: A spatial and seasonal assessment
Luis Silva, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

Session Chair: Luis Ribeiro da Silva

Auditorium, Building 20 15:20 - 16:50 Details

5:15 pm

Poster session

Composition and seasonal variability of dinoflagellates in the central Red Sea, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Danang Prabowo, KAUST

Suitability of inter-tidal benthic foraminifera as proxy indicators of sea level in Al-Kharrar Lagoon, Saudi Arabia
Talha Al-Dubai, KAU

Photocatalytic Degradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in The Presence of Nanosized Semiconductors
Nojoud Al-Harbi, KAU

Rapid ecosystem service assessment for coastal habitats in the eastern Red Sea
Aislinn Dunne, KAUST

First insight of the mucus carbohydrate composition of scleractinian corals from the central Red Sea
Ghaida Hadaidi, KAUST

Transcriptomic analysis of Symbiodinium micoradriaticum in hospite under acidification stress reveals differential expression of photosynthesis related genes
Marcela Herrera Sarrias, KAUST

Biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons by halophilic bacterial consortium enriched from Abhour, Red Sea, Saudi Arabia
Ramzi Amran, KAU

Metagenomes reveal worldwide occurrence of macroalgae in the ocean
Alejandra Ortega, KAUST

Monitoring shoreline change detection using remote sensing and GIS in Jeddah coast
Satria Antoni Syamsuddin, KAU

A modified zinc oxide nanoparticles immobilized polyurethane foam sorbent packed column coupled ion chromatography for trace determination of phosphate ions in water
Norah Alzahrani, KAU

Absorption of heavy metal by Microalgae in Red Sea, Saudi Arabia
Aisha Alamri, KAU

Thermal dependence of seagrass ecosystem metabolism in the Red Sea
Celina Burkholz, KAUST

Hydra as a model for studying the evolutionary origin of chemical neurotransmission
Hanan Mahmood, KAUST

Seasonal variability of phytoplankton abundance and composition in the Red Sea
Ashwag Asseri, KAUST

Monitoring the infrastructure impacts along the Red Sea Coast: A Case Study in Jazan Coast, Saudi Arabia
Aaid Al-Zubieri, KAU

Chemical study of the lipids content of sea cucumber Holothuria atra from the Saudi Red Sea coast and their antifouling activity
Fekri Shaher, KAUST

Evidence of Gulf of Aden surface water in the Northern Red Sea
Lina Eyouni, KAUST

What your eyes miss in coral reefs: introducing the cryptobiome
Dr. John Pearman, KAUST

Characterization of Red Sea cyanobacteria populations on a time series
Dr. Alexandra Coello-Camba, KAUST

Abundant DNA Methylation in the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica is involved in genomic evolution and transcriptional regulation
Juan Antonio Ruiz-Santiesteban, KAUST

Effects of contaminants and concurrent stressors on copepods
Dr. Alexandra Steckbauer, KAUST

Auditorium, Building 20 17:15 - 19:30 Details

Morning session
8:30 am

Opening speech

Auditorium, Building 20 08:30 - 08:35 Details

8:35 am

Keynote lecture: Developing one of the Worlds largest projects in one of the Worlds few remaining pristine environments

The Red Sea project aims to create a unique luxury tourist destination for global experience seekers. The natural beauty, bio diversity and remote nature of the project, located on an archipelago with 80 islands, sited alongside 200km of unspoiled coastline, presents development opportunities and challenges.
How can we protect again rising sea levels, have no dependence on fossil fuel, eliminate waste land infill, optimise our carbon footprint, handle concentrated brine discharge from potable water generation, prevent damage to coral, and achieve a net positive environmental impact?
What will make global travellers come to Saudi Arabia and local travellers stay in their backyard?

Chair: Gabriela Perna

Auditorium, Building 20 08:35 - 09:10 Details

Mr. Ian Williamson, The Red Sea Development Company, Saudi Arabia
9:10 am

Session 1: Animal physiology and adaptation

9:10 Sand temperature projections for turtle nesting sites in the Red Sea: Implications for hatchling sex ratios
Lyndsey Tanabe, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

9:25 Adhesion to coral reef surfaces, a sink for microplastics?
Cecilia Martin, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

9:40 Multistressor interaction of oil and nutrients on Red Sea recruitment
Ann Marie Hulver, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

9:55 Variable yet predominantly additive effects of concurrent hypoxia and elevated pCO2 on marine biota
Dr. Alexandra Steckbauer, KAUST PI: Burton Jones

10:10 To feed or not to feed? Coral reef fish responses to artificial feeding and stakeholder perceptions in the Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands
Natalie Prinz, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

Session Chair: Lina Eyouni

Auditorium, Building 20 09:10 - 10:25 Details

10:25 am

Coffee break

KAUST 10:25 - 10:45 Details

10:45 am

Session 2: Microbiology: Exploring functional microbiology in Red Sea Ecosystems

10:45 Heterotrophic bacterioplankton in a coastal Red Sea lagoon: Exploring the potential antimicrobial effect of seagrass meadows
Dr. Hana Sonbol, KAUST PI: Xose Anxelu Moran

11:00 Microbial diversity and metabolisms in a brine-seawater interface of the Red Sea
Dr. Gregoire Michoud, KAUST PI: Daniele Daffonchio

11:15 Novel genomes along brine-seawater interface
Alan Barozzi, KAUST PI: Daniele Daffonchio

11:30 Functional metagenomics explain airborne lifestyle of the global dust belt microbiome
Nojood Aalismail, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

11:45 The microbial response to nutrient enrichment in mangrove soils
Timothy Thomson, KAUST PI: Burt Jones

Session Chair: Alan Barozzi

Auditorium, Building 20 10:45 - 12:00 Details

12:00 pm

Lunch/Lunch with Keynote speakers

KAUST 12:00 - 13:30 Details

Afternoon session
1:30 pm

Keynote lecture: Autonomous Sensing Systems for Coastal Sustainability

Autonomous sensing promises solutions to two problems vexing sustainability science in the ocean: 1) The environment often changes more quickly than we have the ability to observe these changes. 2) Emerging threats to coastal systems like coral reefs need new sensors and new methods to quickly analyze the raw data for decision support (machine learning). Many data sets collected on coral reefs suffer from under-sampling in space or time. Undersampling results in signals that are said to be ‘aliased’. Aliased data incorrectly present a high frequency fluctuation as a lower frequency fluctuation. Autonomous mobile robots can act as fast-moving taxicabs for sensors and overcome this aliasing problem. My lab has developed autonomous marine robots and diver-held measurement systems to gain rapid situational awareness for water quality and distribution of biota. I will present case studies in autonomous sensing from four continents: benthic environments in Panama, Florida, Bonaire and Iceland, and the rapidly warming western Antarctica peninsula.

Chair: Ann Marie Hulver

Auditorium, Building 20 13:30 - 14:05 Details

Prof. Mark Patterson, Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2:05 pm

Session 3: Abiotic processes

14:05 Spatio-temporal pattern in transparency to UV radiation across the Red Sea
Sebastian Overmans, KAUST PI: Susana Agusti

14:20 Characteristic Length Scale from Glider Data
Michael Campbell, KAUST PI: Burt Jones

14:35 13C and 14C measurements of primary productivity (PP) in oligotrophic waters
Dr. Daffne C. López-Sandoval, KAUST PI: Susana Agusti

14:50 One-year survey of the carbonate system in a reef, mangrove and seagrass meadow of the central Red Sea
Dr. Vincent Saderne, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

15:05 Treatment of seafood industrial wastewater coupled with electricity production using microbial fuel cells (MFC)
Afnan AlMutairi, KAU PI: Mamdoh Jamal

Session Chair: Susann Rossbach

Auditorium, Building 20 14:05 - 15:50 Details

3:50 pm

Coffee break

KAUST 15:50 - 16:05 Details

4:05 pm

Session 4: Speed talks

16:05 Effects of flow and hypoxia on developing squid Doryteuthis pealeii egg capsules
Lucy Fitzgerald, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

16:10 Natural radiole damage and regeneration of the feather duster worms, Schizobranchia insignis and Eudistylia vancouveri
Shannon Brown, KAUST PI: Michael Berumen

16:15 Toxicity test of copper and zinc trace metals to the wedge clam Atactodea glabrata
Reham Jouda, KAU PI: Mohmmad Baakdah

16:20 Shifts in reef-associated fish communities with habitat degradation in the East Central Red Sea
George Short, KAUST PI: Burton Jones

16:25 Microplastic in Red Sea fishes – an assessment along the Saudi Arabian coast
Fadiyah Baalkhuyur, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

16:30 Marine Heatwaves expose coral reef zones susceptible to bleaching
Lily Genevier, KAUST PI: Ibrahim Hoteit

16:35 Use of Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy to quantify 13C-labelled phenantrene accumulation in phytoplankton and transfer to corals
Ananya Ashok, KAUST PI: Susana Agusti

16:40 Metabolic thermal performance of primary producers on coral reefs in the Red Sea
Dr. Andrea Anton, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

16:45 First insight into viral diversity across a range of coral species from the central Red Sea
Jin Ye, KAUST PI: Christian Voolstra

16:50 Extraction technique and sediment type affect eDNA-based assessments of marine coastal habitats
Dr. Nathan Geraldi, KAUST PI: Carlos Duarte

Session Chair: Dr. Anny Cardenas

Auditorium, Building 20 16:05 - 17:30 Details

5:30 pm

Social event

KAUST 17:30 - 20:00 Details