Active since the opening of KAUST in 2009, the Red Sea Research Center is well-positioned and well-equipped to study the Red Sea with state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers. With its striking blue waters in our backyard, the Red Sea represents KAUST's most unique 'laboratory'. The Red Sea Research Center undertakes a wide variety of research to formulate a comprehensive understanding of the Red Sea's rich ecology. This knowledge is crucial to ensure sustainable use and conservation of its natural resources.

This unique sea supports enormous diversity in the form of many species of fishes, invertebrates, seaweeds, phytoplankton, and bacteria. The Red Sea hosts coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, brine pools, and other important ecosystems. The incredible biodiversity of the Red Sea holds untapped potential for understanding globally-significant questions, particularly with regard to evolutionary biology, stress tolerance, and adaptation to extreme environments.

Studies conducted by scientists within and in collaboration with the Red Sea Research Center have already broken the boundaries of current marine research and are making waves in the field.

Photo credits: Morgan Bennett-Smith

Mission and Aim

The mission of the RSRC is to contribute to the understanding of the role, functioning and response to pressures of the global ocean by using the unique opportunities offered by the Red Sea.

RSRC Aim: In doing so, the RSRC aims to provide critical scientific knowledge underpinning the role of the Red Sea in supporting the growth of a Blue Economy for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“In any given morning, I can be out on a reef diving and collecting samples, have lunch at my house, be in a very modern lab facility in the afternoon, and teach a class in the evening,” says Michael Berumen, Professor of Marine Science with the Red Sea Research Center. “It’s a really unique situation that the University has such great access to very good coral reefs with such great world-class facilities right on the water.”

International Collaboration with a Regional Focus

The combination of extraordinary biological, physical, and chemical diversity within the Red Sea makes it a challenge to research, but worthwhile as models for ecosystems around the world and potential for pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications. Academic and private-sector collaborators come from around the globe.