research strategy image.jpg

BioPhysical Oceanographic Research 


Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface and play a vital role in the biosphere. From biodiversity, to carbon storage, to primary production and half of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans regulate and sustain life on the planet. Today, the world’s seas, including the Red Sea, face an array of pressures from fishing, shipping, oil exploration, desalination, increasing population, terrestrial run-off, plastic waste and climatic changes. In 2016, Saudi Arabia released a Vision 2030 document, emphasizing the safeguarding of the environment to its future development and prosperity.


Research Strategy

Within the context of global change, blue growth and coastal development trends globally, the sustainable development priority of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and the food-water-energy–environment nexus mission at KAUST, the IOP has developed an Ocean Observatory with a corresponding and evolving research strategy. 


Find out more about specific research efforts in the sections below.

Current Research

This project aims to review and study observational and modelling methods for quantifying and monitoring the dynamics and distribution of bio-optical properties and their relation to biogeochemical variables and processes in the Red Sea using in situ, simulated, and ocean colour satellite data. Understanding the bio-physical and biogeochemical processes will provide the critical data needed to predict changes in marine ecosystem functioning under climate change.  ​​
The primary objective of the present study is to provide a holistic understanding of the nutrient fluxes and limitations thereof in the Red Sea. In particular, we investigate how nutrient fluxes influence plankton diversity and the trophodynamics of the pelagic food web and how they relate to physical-oceanographic features such as eddies, eddy-induced upwelling, and the inflow of water masses from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.​
Our goal is to understand the variability, persistence and biochemisty of eddies that occur in the north-central Red Sea. To accomplish this, we will integrate observations from remote sensing with in situ data from gliders and ship-based hydrographic and bio-optical observations. ​
Developing and deploying smart technology like marine robotics enables a new breadth and depth of knowledge regarding our marine seas. At KAUST, we aim to drive large scale marine robotic testing to revolutionise ocean forecasting.​