The research group often incorporates Visiting Research Students, M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows interested to 
contribute to our research.  
In particular, the following positions are now open:


Ph.D. Position Available in Red Sea biogeochemistry

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology ( has been established as a world– class  international  graduate–level  science  and  technology research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom that will also benefit the region and the world.
Inaugurated in early 2011, with the striking blue waters visible from its laboratory windows, the Red Sea Research Center is well-positioned and well-equipped to study the Red Sea with state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers. The incredible biodiversity of the Red Sea holds untapped potential and serve as models for understanding biological systems and adaptation to extreme environments. The Red Sea Research Center is committed to developing an integrated understanding of coral reef ecosystems and their oceanographic context – the physical, chemical, biological, and geological environment, the stresses arising from natural as well as anthropogenic factors including overfishing pollutions, coastal development, and global climate change (

The following positions are open for Ph.D. students to develop the following projects:


The metabolic balance of the Red Sea

Ph.D. Thesis to be co-supervised by Carlos M. Duarte and Susana Agustí Full Professors  at KAUST, Red Sea Research Center. 

The metabolic balance i.e. the balance between production and consumption in the ecosystem, is an important property informing on the role of ocean biota as a sink or a source of CO2 to the atmosphere. The Red Sea is one of the warmest of all Seas, with surface water temperatures ranging between 28 and 34 oC. The Red Sea is, as the global ocean, warming with climate change.  But climate change also involves changes in other aspects such as dust inputs to the Sea with consequences for the Red Sea productivity. This Ph.D. project will quantify the matabolic balance of plankton communities in the Red Sea, and will evaluate the effects of increasing temperature and dust inputs. Will involve the use of techniques based on dissolved O2, and stable isotopes as 18O and 13C to quantify production, consumption and metabolic balance. 
Applicants for this position are expected to have a high GPA (>3.5  of  a maximum  of 4), experience and background knowledge  in the field and impeccable  English  (oral and writing), and some experience in biological productivity and/or biogeochemistry.


M.Sc. Program on Red Sea Ecology.

A number of projects are available for M.Sc. students interested in Red Sea Ecology.  These are fully-funded (including airfare, accommodation at KAUST, generous stipend, and free tuition).  To apply contact us for details and read instructions at Applying to KAUST see for details on the application process. M.Sc. students start on mid August 2016, and must apply before April 2016.


Red Sea Summer Program

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is pleased to announce an opportunity to study marine science in the Red Sea in the summer of 2016.

The program will expose students to several aspects of Red Sea marine science, including genomics, ecology, biological oceanography, and microbiology. The course includes fieldwork, labwork, lectures, and data workshops. The course will be taught be a group of KAUST faculty who have expertise in these fields, tentatively including Profs. Christian Voolstra, Manuel Aranda, Carlos Duarte, Susana Agusti, Xelu Moran, Tim Ravasi, Xabier Irigoyen, Burt Jones, Michael Berumen, Daniele Daffonchio, and Takashi Gojobori.

The intention is that each faculty member will present lectures giving an overview of their methods and recent work employing these techniques. This will be followed by opportunities to get hands-on experience with the techniques and associated data analysis, and, where relevant, sample collection in the field. Particular emphasis will be given to work done in the Red Sea, an exciting and dynamic system with untapped scientific potential. 

Each of the broad themes (i.e., genomics, microbiology, ecology, biological oceanography) will be covered for about 3 – 4 days. The course intends to provide a fairly general introduction to each of these topics, although students will be exposed to cutting-edge current research carried out in these fields. Students will also be familiarized with the research facilities of the Red Sea Research Center and KAUST core labs, including the Biosciences Core Laboratory and the Coastal and Marine Resources Core Laboratory. Ship scheduling permitting, students will participate in a sampling trip aboard KAUST’s 35m (115’) research vessel, the R/V Thuwal.

Current undergraduate and Master’s students, as well as recent graduates from these levels, are eligible to apply. Our intention is to identify individuals with potential to become KAUST graduate students and to familiarize those individuals with KAUST facilities and faculty. (Therefore, current PhD students and postdocs are not eligible to apply.) The ideal candidate will have a strong background in core biological sciences, preferably also with at least one specialized course, such as ecology, zoology, genetics, or marine biology. We plan to admit about 16 students for the course.

Successful applicants will receive full funding for travel, private bedroom and bath in a shared residential suite, academic credit, and a stipend for the three-week period of study at KAUST. There are no fees associated with the course. Housing will be provided on the KAUST campus and students will have full access to KAUST recreational facilities. Students will also get a tour of Jeddah, including the historic old city, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Jeddah fish market. 

Successful applicants will need to be available for travel to arrive in Saudi Arabia on 22 July and will depart from Saudi Arabia on 12 August. (Note these dates are subject to slight adjustment.) All flight arrangements will be made by KAUST. It is the responsibility of the student to have his or her own passport (valid until at least 2017). KAUST will assist with obtaining a visa for Saudi Arabia.

Applications will require at least one letter of recommendation (preferably from a professor or other academic supervisor) to be fully considered. The deadline for applications (including the recommendation letter) is January 15th.

KAUST will award 3 credits upon successful completion of the course.

To apply go to:




There are occasionally openings in the Reef Ecology Lab for interns. Some of these positions are administered as part of the KAUST Visiting Student Research Program (VSRP). These internships are paid positions, including travel costs, housing on the KAUST campus, and a monthly stipend for a duration of 3 to 6 months. Applications will close in early February 2015. Current undergraduate or MSc students, or recent graduates from these degrees, are invited to apply.

To check on the availability of current VSRP internships, please visit:​. 






Successful candidates should apply to KAUST, indicating that they already have an offer from their supervisors (see below), as these positions are contingent on the students being admitted to KAUST. The application periods are:

Applying to KAUST see for details on the application process.

All students  admitted to KAUST will receive a very generous  fellowship for the duration of their graduate studies. The benefits of the KAUST Student Fellowship include:

  • Full tuition support
  • Monthly living allowance (ranging between $20,000-30,000 annual, depending on qualifications and progression through degree programs)
  • Free housing
  • Medical and dental coverage
  • Relocation support
  • One return ticket home every year