World Class Marine Research: The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

World Class Marine Research: The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

Science Without Borders® is the overarching theme of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Its purposes are to provide financial sponsorship of marine conservation programs and scientific research, and to promote public awareness of the need to preserve, protect and restore the world's oceans and aquatic resources.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation surveys coral reefs around the world and helps governments develop conservation strategies to look after marine ecosystems. But some of these habitats are dying … shadows of their former selves. Scientists estimate that 20% of coral reefs are already lost. Another 35% are in great danger.

Just over a decade ago, Prince Khaled bin Sultan established the Living Oceans Foundation to promote marine science and conservation and to help avert further decline in coral ecosystems. The foundation brings a wealth of resources to study coral reefs.

The Golden Shadow, the foundation’s flagship research vessel, is on a voyage around the globe to conduct ocean research. On this six-year special Global Reef Expedition, the ship will travel through the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean as well as the Red Sea. The science team works with local scientists and resource managers to better understand what’s happening with the reefs, and what can be done to help them recover. They record what’s on the bottom and they take notes of species of coral and invertebrates.

It’s only really within the last 30 years that scientists have seen dramatic changes in reef composition. Many reefs that were once dominated by coral are now covered in algae.

To turn this around we’ve got to act quickly. The main reason the foundation has been working on reefs is to identify ways that reef recovery can be enhanced. We believe we are already seeing signs of recovery in many locations. The scientific community now understands that reefs are very, very resilient. Corals can rebound. Over time, they can come back as long as we take steps to reduce human threats.

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