Scientists from Israel and neighbouring Arab countries are joining forces to save Red Sea coral reefs from the threat of climate change.
The alliance is the brainchild of Moaz Fine, an Israeli professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University, who invited marine experts from the countries that border the Red Sea to collaborate at a new research centre. The team will comprise representatives from Israel, Eritrea, Jordan and Egypt, with scientists from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Djibouti, which do not recognise Israel.
The countries have put aside political differences in the interests of protecting the natural world they share.
Scientists, ecologists and oceanographers will come together at the new research centre, based in the Swiss capital, Bern, to study the impact of bleaching on the Red Sea reefs.
Bleaching occurs when coral reacts to changes in sea temperature, light conditions or nutrients. As global warming increases water temperatures, the delicate balance of reef ecosystems is disrupted, forcing coral to eject the algae that live and feed on them.
The stressed coral turns white and although it isn’t dead at this point, if the algae loss is prolonged it becomes vulnerable to disease and can eventually die.