Red Sea Research: A Personal Perspective

  • Peter VineEmail author
Part of the Springer Oceanography book series (SPRINGEROCEAN)


In this chapter the author reflects on five strands of marine biological research in which he was involved in the Red Sea and reviews subsequent progress in their respective fields. He presents his own findings and those of other biologists on: (1) Crown of Thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks; (2) Corals-v-algae and the influence of herbivorous fish on the outcome; (3) Corals-v-sponges and the ecological impact of the battle for dominance; (4) General reef ecology and conservation; and finally, (5) Taxonomy of Red Sea marine life. There have been substantial scientific developments in all the fields covered. Whilst we know much more than we did in the 1960s and 1970s, when much of the coral-reef research effort in the Red Sea was in its early stages, there are many questions still unanswered. Research continues, taking advantage of modern technologies, revealing the rich complexity and dynamic nature of the Red Sea’s coral reefs.



Since this chapter covers most of my marine biological research in the Red Sea there are many people to whom I wish to express my gratitude but space does not allow an exhaustive listing. Academic support and encouragement for my work with serpulids and Acanthaster planci was provided by Professor E.W. Knight-Jones and by Dr. Phyllis Knight-Jones. I am grateful to the International Rotary Foundation for a fellowship that enabled me to spend a year at James Cook University in Queensland Australia, and to Swansea University College (Wales) and University College Galway (Ireland) where I wrote up much of my research whilst initially studying for a Ph.D. and later working as a post-doctoral fellow. My introduction to, and exploration of the Red Sea was facilitated by the Cambridge Coral Starfish Research Group led by Dr. Rupert Ormond. I later joined Khartoum University and Suakin Marine Laboratory and it is a pleasure to acknowledge the friendship and support of my Sudanese academic colleagues including Dr. Dirar Nasr and Dr. Yousef Abu Gideiri, together with a number of active contributors to the Sudanese marine field, especially Captain Abdel Halim Hamid. I would also like to mention Sheikh Gazi Zainy and Immel Publishing for publishing four of my Red Sea books; Michael McKinnon for the opportunity to assist in production of both books and films on the Red Sea; and Robin Lehman for introducing me to large format underwater filming in the Red Sea. This chapter owes its genesis to Dr. Najeeb Rasul and Dr. Dirar Nasr, both of whom persisted in asking me to summarise my Red Sea research for this publication. I would also like to acknowledge the photographic contribution of Hans Sjoeholm. Finally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wife, Paula and daughters, Catriona, Sinead and Megan who have participated in, supported and encouraged my research and writing about the Red Sea and its marine life.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth and Ocean Sciences, School of Natural SciencesNUI GalwayGalwayIreland

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