Susana Carvalho, Ph.D.

Research Scientists

Senior ​​Research Scientist

Research Interests

Dr. Carvalho’s research interests include the assessment of the effects of anthropogenic and natural stressors on the biodiversity and functioning of the marine ecosystem from the gene to the community level. In the Red Sea, Dr. Carvalho has been investigating changes in the biodiversity patterns along multiple spatial and temporal scales through a combination of molecular and morphology-based approaches. Research has been focused on pelagic and benthic (coral reefs and soft-sediment) biotopes aiming for a holistic understanding of the Red Sea ecosystem functioning. 

Selected Publications

  • Harnessing the microbiome to prevent global biodiversity loss. Peixoto RS, Voolstra CR, Sweet M, Duarte CM, Carvalho S, Vilela H, Lunshof JE, Gram L, Woodhams DC, Walter J, Roik A, Hentschel U, Thurber RV, Daisley B, Ushijima B, Daffonchio D, Costa R, Keller-Costa T, Bowman J, Rosado AS, Reid G, Mason CE, Walke JB, Thomas T, Berg G. Nature Microbiology,, (2022)
  • Bacterial communities from arid mangrove soils are shaped primarily by environmental rather than biogeographical factors. Thomson T, Fusi M, Bennett-Smith MF, Prinz N, Aylagas E, Carvalho S, Lovelock CE, Jones BH, Ellis JI.  Microbiology Spectrum, 10:e0090321, (2022)
  • A portfolio of climate-tailored approaches to advance the design of marine protected areas in the Red Sea. Gajdzik L, DeCarlo TM, Aylagas E, Coker DJ, Green A, Majoris JE, Saderne VF, Carvalho S, Berumen ML,.  Global Changr Biology, 27:3956-3968, (2021)
  • A step towards the validation of bacteria biotic indices using DNA metabarcoding for benthic monitoring. Aylagas E, Atalah J, Sánchez-Jerez P, Pearman J, Casado N, Asensi J, Toledo-Guedes K, Carvalho S.  Molecular Ecology Resources, 21:1889-1903, (2021)
  • High summer temperatures amplify functional differences between coral- and algal-dominated reef communities. Roth F, Karcher DB, Carvalho S, Thomson T, Saalmann F, Rädecker N, Voolstra CR, Kürten B, Struck U, Jones BH, Wild C.  Ecology, 102:e03226, (2021)
  • Shining a light on pan-regional cryptic reef benthic biodiversity using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures. Pearman JK, Aylagas E, Chust G, Villarino E, Watson JR, Chenuil A, Borja A, Cahill AE, Carugati L, Danovaro R, David R, Irigoien X, Mendibil I, Moncheva S, Rodríguez-Ezpeleta N, Carvalho S.  Molecular Ecology 29:4882–4897, (2020)
  • Multiple stressor effects on coral reef ecosystems in the Red Sea. Ellis JI, Jamil T, Anlauf H, Coker D, Curdia J, Dasari H, Hewitt J, Jones BH, Krokos G, Roth F, Carvalho S, Hoteit I. Global Change Biology 25:4131-4146, (2019)
  • Disentangling the complex microbiological network within vulnerable coral reef ecosystems. Pearman J.K., Aylagas E., Voolstra C., Anlauf H., Villalobos R., Carvalho S., Molecular Ecology, (2019)
  • Beyond the visual: introducing the hidden reef cryptobiome. Carvalho S., Aylagas E., Villalobos R., Kattan Y., Berumen M., Pearman J.K., Proceedings of the Royal Society B., 286: 20182697, (2019)


  • ​Ph.D., University of Algarve, Portugal, 2007
  • MSc, University of Aveiro, Portugal, 2000

Professional Profile

  • 2018-present: Associate Editor, Frontiers in Marine Science, Section Marine Ecosystem Ecology
  • 2016-present: Editor, BMC Ecology, Springer
  • 2014-present: Editor, Nature Scientific Reports
  • 2012-Present: Research Scientist, KAUST, Red Sea Research Center, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2008-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow, Portuguese Institute for Fisheries and Sea Research; Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucia (ICMAN) – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain
  • 2007-2008:  Research Technician, Portuguese Institute for Fisheries and Sea Research, Portugal

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
  • Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Marine ecology Ecological Indicators Environmental Impacts Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Biological networks and interactions Meta-Barcoding