With temperatures ranging from 16°C to 34°C in monthly means, coral reefs in the Arabian Gulf have adapted and thieved under extreme environmental conditions which exceed the temperature increase expectations for most coral locations for this century. In contrast, maximum monthly mean temperatures in the Red Sea are currently 32°C. High mortality during the recent major coral bleaching events in the Southern Red Sea suggests that these populations are already at their thermal limits. To prevent further loss of these valuable ecosystems, the Arabian Gulf may actually serve as a reservoir of heat tolerant genotypes that may be used to introduce the critical tolerance capacity and to accelerate adaptation.
This project explores methods for assisted gene flow in corals to advance coral reef restoration efforts.