Our four-year fieldwork campaign in Saudi Arabian coastal waters (2006-2009) was a collaborative research effort embracing the Foundation’s Science Without Borders® Program. An interdisciplinary team of international research scientists utilized the M/Y Golden Shadow to assess the coral reef resources of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coastline. Our first destination in the Red Sea was the Farasan Islands in 2006, followed by Ras Al-Qasabah in 2007, Al Wajh and Yanbu in 2008, and Farasan Bank in 2009. The primary purpose of the expeditions were to enhance and expand upon existing marine resource habitat maps significantly and to identify areas of rich biodiversity for management considerations.
Throughout the Red Sea campaign, we combined sophisticated remote sensing technologies (satellite and aircraft sensors) with field surveys to generate habitat maps of coral reefs. This raw data would later be processed into GIS maps of shallow-water marine habitats of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea and published in our Red Sea Atlas. These resulting high-resolution maps create a world of possibilities for use in coastal zone management, resource monitoring, and future scientific research.