Research Interests

Prof. Berumen has authored more than 100 journal articles and is co-editor of one book (Biology of Butterflyfishes). His research focuses on a range of coral reef taxa. He has extensive field experience on coral reefs around the world and is a participant in active projects in French Polynesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, among others. Naturally, there is a major emphasis on projects in Saudi Arabia as well as the Red Sea and Arabian peninsula in general. 

Prof. Berumen‘s research interests are focused on coral reef ecology, including larval connectivity in coral reef fishes, movement ecology of coral reef organisms, biodiversity, biogeography, and the impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems. These projects utilize techniques ranging from simple in-situ observations to parentage analysis using DNA microsatellite markers.  He is a part of an international team developing techniques used to track the dispersal patterns of larval fish and is leading one of the world's largest whale shark tagging and tracking programs. 

Prof. Berumen was named Sir John and Laurine Proud Fellow from the Lizard Island Research Station (part of the Australian Museum) in 2009. He was awarded a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship from the American Australian Association in 2008. Prof. Berumen is a member of a number of scientific and professional organizations, including the International Society for Reef Studies, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America. He is currently an Ecology Editor at Coral Reefs, the journal of the International Society for Reef Studies.
Prof. Berumen received his doctoral degree in Marine Biology from James Cook University, Australia. He earned his Bachelor‘s degree (summa cum laude) in Zoology at the University of Arkansas. As part of his undergraduate studies, he spent a year studying coral reef science at James Cook University. He then conducted six months of independent research that formed the basis of his honors thesis. 

Prof. Berumen leads the Reef Ecology Lab in the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST.​

Selected Publications

Education Profile

  • ​Ph.D., Marine Biology, James Cook University, Australia, 2007. 
  • B.S. (summa cum laude), Zoology, University of Arkansas, 2001.

Professional Profile

  • ​2014-present: Associate Professor of Marine Science and Engineering, Red Sea Research Center, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2009-2014: Assistant Professor of Marine Science and Engineering, Red Sea Research Center, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2008–2009: Visiting Scholar, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia. 
  • 2007–2009: Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. 
  • 2007 Visiting Scholar, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK. 
  • 2006–2007: Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology Department, University of Arkansas, USA. 
  • 2005–2007: Adjunct Instructor, Hawaii Pacific University, USA. 
  • 2005–2006: Instructor, Biology Department, University of Arkansas, USA.

Scientific and Professional Memberships

  • ​American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • International Society for Reef Studies.
  • Australian Coral Reef Society.


  • ​John and Laurine Proud Fellowship, Lizard Island Research Station, Australian Museum, 2009.
  • Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship, American Australian Association, 2008.