Scientists know very little about the Red Sea.
When I was doing a story about a new disease infecting coral reefs around the world a couple of years ago, I took the chance to ask professors from different parts around the world about the Red Sea corals. They all told me they don’t know much about it, since the corals there were the least studied in the world.
A couple of dives in this little stripe of a sea, which carries a huge relevance to all Abrahamic religions, and you can’t help but notice how special it is. Most divers who have visited these waters once fall in love with them and come back time and again.
Earlier this year, a 10-day research trip from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) sailed into these fascinating waters to fill some of the scientific vacuum. Michael Berumen, assistant professor of marine science at KAUST, and Randi Rotjan, associate scientist at the New England Aquarium, set out with 8 colleagues to document coral reefs and the abundant marine life in the Red Sea.
Rotjan blogged from the sea about the fascinating trip. The blog is a delight to read for anyone interested in diving, and especially for people who have fallen in love with the Red Sea. She documents the trip both in and on the sea, with pictures and videos of the most amazing undersea lifeforms and the research taking place on top the boat.
The trip had several scientific aims, each one more exciting then the other. My personal favourites remain, however, examining clownfish genetics and studying corallivores, organisms that feed on coral reefs.
Blogging in Rotjan’s exciting way brings a new level of interaction with audience. It invites the readers to actually share in this underwater adventure. It is indeed a great way to document a science journey, especially to ignite a love of nature and science among younger readers.
Personally, I now wish to go diving in the Red Sea more than ever before!
You can read all the blog posts regarding the trip here.