Max Dhillon

Ph.D. Students



B2/L2 – Sea Side – 2207-WS05


​I started my studies in Zoology at the University of Leeds in the UK. As a part of my 5-year International Master's degree program there, I was able to studied for a year at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. During this time there, I developed a keen interest in coral reef ecosystems, and took part in coral restoration projects in Indonesia. Upon arriving back at the University of Leeds, I was awarded Research Grants to lead a project in Indonesia investigating the depth response of fragmented shallow tropical reef corals on floating nurseries. Following the completion of this project, I moved to KAUST to continue my work in the field of Coral ecology and restoration.

Research Interests

​Current projects at KAUST include designing and developing an Acute Stress System for corals to simulate periods of extreme temperatures. This will help us understand coral response and acclimation to increased sea surface temperature as per global climate change projections. Utilising the system in conjunction with a Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) Fluorometry will assist in identifying heat resilient genotypes, which can later be used in spawning experiments. This projects are geared towards combating global coral degradating by optimising and improving techniques such as coral gardening, translocation and spawning experiments.


  • ​Master in Biology (Int) Zoology - University of Leeds, Leeds, UK (2018 - 2019)
  • Study Abroad - Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (2016 - 2018)
  • B.Sc. (Hons) (Int) Zoology - University of Leeds, Leeds, UK (2104 - 2018)

Professional Profile

  • ​VS Intern - KAUST, Saudi Arabia (2019 - Present)


  • ​Priestley International Centre for Climate - Climate Research Grant (2018)

KAUST Affiliations

● Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

● Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Coral Reefs Climate Change Ecology Conservation Biology