Announcing the winners of the 2022 Science Without Borders® Challenge!

Written by

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of our annual student art competition, the Science Without Borders® Challenge. Now in its tenth year, this international contest engages students in ocean conservation through art, encouraging them to create artwork that inspires people to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans. This year, students were asked to illustrate a ‘Ridge to Reef’ approach to coral reef conservation—and they delivered!

Over 500 primary and secondary school students from nearly 50 countries submitted artwork to the 2022 Science Without Borders® Challenge, sending in beautiful artwork illustrating what people can do to help coral reefs on land and at sea. Artwork in the competition was judged in two categories based on age. The winning entries in each category are beautiful pieces of artwork as well as excellent illustrations of how this ridge-to-reef approach to conservation can be used to preserve, protect, and restore coral reefs.

StoryMaps: A New Way to Explore our Findings from the Global Reef Expedition

Written by

My name is Joana, and I am an IMBRSea student. This spring, I have had the incredible opportunity to intern at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. During this time, I helped the Foundation create StoryMaps to tell key conservation stories about the Global Reef Expedition. I produced three StoryMaps showcasing the findings and data collected during the Expedition.

My first StoryMap, Mapping Our Planet’s Coral Reefs, was the first of its kind published by the Living Oceans Foundation. This StoryMap guides user through the World Reef Map, showing people how to use it. A proper understanding of the detailed information available in the web-based map will help policymakers, local communities, and conservation organizations establish conservation plans to fight the unfolding coral reef crisis.

The second StoryMap takes users aboard the Global Reef Expedition, showing them what is happening to coral reefs around the globe. This StoryMap includes information on the scientific surveys carried out, the methodology used to map coral reefs, and the discoveries over a 10-year mission around the globe.

The last StoryMap, Lessons Learned from the Global Reef Expedition, highlights the five take-home messages of the Global Reef Expedition. The coral reef crisis was apparent in every location surveyed, and swift action is needed to conserve our planet’s coral reefs.

2021: A Remarkable Year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

Written by

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 2021 was a truly remarkable year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

After spending ten years in the field circumnavigating the globe, we concluded the Global Reef Expedition (GRE)—the largest coral reef survey and mapping research mission in history. Prince Khaled made the formal announcement at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, where we also presented our data and findings from this groundbreaking research mission.

Now that the Global Reef Expedition is complete, we are taking our coral reef research to the next level. This past year we signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to help them map the world’s coral reefs. We have shared over 65,000 square kilometers of our coral reef maps with NASA so they can use them as a guide for how to map coral reefs from space. We are also using our GRE data and expertise in a new partnership with the Pacific Blue Foundation that will use machine learning to automate image analysis of benthic photo transects. Meanwhile, we continue to work with our partners at the University of Miami on new coral reef health and resiliency models. This includes a new project funded by the National Science Foundation to assess the long-term health of coral reefs.

In addition to our scientific accomplishments, the Foundation had several notable achievements in outreach and education. In 2021 we launched a new TV show, Our Living Oceans, which is now playing on EarthxTV. This 6-part documentary series takes viewers on a journey of discovery, educating viewers on the health of our living oceans, the threats they face, and what is being done to save them through conversations with scientists, conservationists, and local leaders from around the world. We also expanded the offerings on our Education Portal, which continued to be a valuable resource for students and teachers, especially for those learning remotely during the pandemic.  

We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve this past year and look forward to what we will be able to accomplish in the years to come.

To learn more about our recent accomplishments, check out our 2021 Annual Report:

2021 Annual Report

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 2021 was a truly remarkable year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. After spending ten years in the field circumnavigating the globe in an effort to understand the coral reef crisis, …

Finalists of the 2022 Science Without Borders Challenge (Ages 15-19)!

Written by

Last week, we proudly announced the finalists in the ages 11-14 category of our 2022 Science Without Borders® Challenge. Today, we are excited to announce the 15-19 year-old finalists of our art contest.

Contest finalists are from China, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The theme, “Ridge to Reef” was portrayed in the students’ artwork through a variety of different actions such as planting corals, cleaning up pollution, preventing overfishing, and planting trees. We were amazed by these students’ creativity, execution of the theme, and artistic abilities.

Without further ado, please meet our 15-19 year old finalists:

Meet the Interns: Janelle Levine

Written by

Have you ever dreamt of working with corals? Our interns here at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation are making it happen. Meet Janelle, our newest communications intern. Read on to see how she made her way to us!

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have a very non-traditional background, and made my way to the Living Oceans Foundation in a pretty roundabout way. My undergraduate degree is actually in philosophy with a focus in philosophy of science.

After graduating into the recession of 2008, one of my first jobs was at a scuba shop. I had never been scuba diving and was hired to help with swim lessons, but quickly found myself partaking in the scuba classes, as well. I spent a number of years helping with scuba classes, as well as diving recreationally and volunteering in an aquarium. As part of my job at the dive shop, I would often play the ‘victim’ in scuba rescue classes, meaning the scuba instructor would find me a spot underwater, and I would sit still in the shallow water, waiting for the rescue students to recover me. This was where I really fell in love with the underwater world – sitting still in calm silence for up to 45 minutes, breathing steadily through my regulator, looking up at the sun shining through the kelp at the surface of the water. If you are still enough, the animals start treating you like part of their environment and will swim right up to you. I was so lucky to start my scuba career exploring the kelp forests in California, a truly remarkable habitat. Through years of diving, I really started feeling a deep desire to understand how underwater habitats are formed, and the role of ecosystem engineers within them.

I eventually changed careers and started making my way up the corporate ladder, but never stopped reading and learning about marine biology and ecology. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to do something more meaningful, so I quit my job and applied for grad school. I was so lucky to be accepted into IMBRSea’s program for marine resource management, and feel so lucky to now be interning for KSLOF as a part of my education!

Shark tagging with our partners, Black Girls Dive Foundation

Written by

“There’s a shark on the line!” The young ladies from Black Girls Dive Foundation (BGDF) squirmed with anticipation and giggled with excitement. As their chaperone, I could feel my own adrenaline surging as we watched the University of Miami (UM) team scurrying around at the back of the boat. The chaperones fitted the first four students with gloves and life vests. Then the students lined up in single file to begin their assigned individual and group tasks. It was time to get to work.

In December, I had the honor of being asked to join our partners at Black Girls Dive Foundation on a shark tagging expedition with the UM Professor Neil Hammerschlag’s Shark Research and Conservation team at Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmosphere Science. The trip is part of BGDF’s Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics with SCUBA (STREAMS) program, which is designed to introduce black girls between the ages of 9 and 17 to a multitude of activities. The Shark Research and Conservation Capstone is a component of the STREAMS program that teaches about the behavioral ecology and conservation of sharks. After completing a series of lecture and lab activities, this part of the program culminates with a field-intensive research expedition: shark tagging.

Reflections on a Big Year

Written by

As 2021 comes to a close, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is taking some time to reflect on everything we have accomplished this year.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic, we have had quite a few things to celebrate. This year we entered into a partnership with NASA to map the world’s reefs, concluded our 10-year Global Reef Expedition, and published a final report of our findings. We also presented our research at two major international conferences: the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), released a report of our research in the Chagos Archipelago, and published several peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Our education and outreach departments also had a remarkable year. This year we launched a new mangrove conservation program with our partners in Jamaica and had students from over 60 countries submit artwork to our Science Without Borders Challenge. Last but certainly not least, we produced an excellent TV show on ocean health, “Our Living Oceans,” which is now playing on EarthxTV.

It’s been an incredible year, and we look forward to the work we will accomplish next year to help protect, preserve, and restore our living oceans.

What We Learned: Collaboration with Local Communities has the Biggest Impact on Reef Conservation

Written by

On the Global Reef Expedition, we prioritized using a collaborative approach to study and map coral reefs by partnering with scientific and local experts in each of the countries we visited. While the scientific team was conducting surveys underwater, we also implemented various outreach and education programs in parallel to improve ocean literacy and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates. The partnerships we formed allowed us to exchange knowledge and learn how local communities were using and managing their marine resources.

One of the biggest take-aways from the GRE was that nearly every community we worked with expressed, and continues to express, the want and need for conservation of their reef systems. Working directly with communities, sharing findings, using our education and outreach programs, and expanding on the current management efforts has proven to be the most successful in conserving the reefs visited on the GRE.