Lina Eyouni is a Ph.D. student in the KAUST Red Sea Center who is dedicated to understanding and predicting ocean processes through a combination of research tools that includes remote sensing observations, HF-radar measurement of surface currents, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that measure and map ocean properties and processes.
Eyouni's daily research, as part of Professor Burt Jones' Integrated Ocean Processes (IOP) laboratory, sees the Saudi native exploring the coupling of biological and physical processes and other oceanographic parameters with the interaction between the sea and the atmosphere.
"My colleagues and I work mainly with autonomous underwater vehicles. We are doing mostly operational, physical oceanography. We design our experiment beforehand and then deploy these vehicles underwater for extended periods. The AUVs/or gliders transmit the data in near real-time through satellites and the vehicles are brought back to the University for refueling and servicing."
"I like to study and investigate the seasonal variability and the dynamics of the water masses in the region and how this can affect the biogeochemical distribution. I investigate such dynamics mainly in the northern area of the Red Sea," she said
Eyouni spends the majority of her days in front of her computer screen compiling and analyzing data borne from fieldwork expeditions in the upper reaches of the Red Sea.
"As the Red Sea has received little attention historically, more often than not we end up with data and observations which are unique. These findings can help to create a pool of information that can influence research in similar marine environments around the globe."
Eyouni joined the RSRC in 2016 after finishing her M.Sc. in marine physics at King Abdulaziz University. Lina describes herself as a passionate learner who is at her happiest when carrying out marine research in the Red Sea. It was this passion not only for the Red Sea and marine science, but also for her country, that convinced her to continue her research journey at KAUST.
"At KAUST, and in the RSRC, we can feel what kind of research we are doing because we see it every day. We are in touch with our research environment, the Red Sea. This closeness to our own "natural laboratory" creates a solid and deep relationship with our research. We are living with our data day and night."
"Since KAUST was established it has provided a high-level of research findings that can, and have, benefitted the Kingdom, specifically to achieve Vision 2030. Our research in the IOP, and the RSRC, creates a lot of data that we need to understand so we can make the environment of the Kingdom healthier. We need to protect our coasts from oil spills and other pollution, and I feel our research can be beneficial to the Kingdom for improving its management and policies regarding the Red Sea environment," she added.
Eyouni takes an eyes-wide-open approach to education and lifelong learning which she traces back to her father's initial encouragement. She also has a keen sense for giving back to the broader community through education and knowledge-sharing. This pattern of reciprocation with those outside of the scientific community continues to fuel her research moving forward.
"My father was a meteorologist, so he encouraged me to be aware of the natural environment and how it affects us. He shared with me his knowledge of weather phenomena and how the world works. He ignited my passion for learning from a young age, and that passion continues to this day."
"When doing research we need to dedicate ourselves to the analysis and exploration of complex data. The best thing we can do when we become researchers is to share our knowledge, and to have the ability and willingness to convey our knowledge and understanding to the people beyond the world of science," Eyouni concluded.