Physical connectivity simulations reveal dynamic linkages between coral reefs in the southern Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Yixin Wang, Dionysios E Raitsos, Georgios Krokos, John A Gittings, Peng Zhan, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The southern Red Sea is genetically distinct from the rest of the basin; yet the reasons responsible for this genetic separation remain unclear. Connectivity is a vital process for the exchange of individuals and genes among geographically separated populations, and is necessary for maintaining biodiversity and resilience in coral reef ecosystems. Here, using long-term, high-resolution, 3-D backward particle tracking simulations, we investigate the physical connectivity of coral reefs in the southern Red Sea with neighbouring regions. Overall, the simulation results reveal that the southern Red Sea coral reefs are more physically connected with regions in the Indian Ocean (e.g., the Gulf of Aden) than with the northern part of the basin. The identified connectivity exhibits a distinct monsoon-related seasonality. Though beyond the country boundaries, relatively remote regions of the Indian Ocean may have a substantial impact on the southern Red Sea coral reef regions, and this should be taken into consideration when establishing conservation strategies for these vulnerable biodiversity hot-spots.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 14 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): REP/1/3268-01-01
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the Paris’ Lab in University of Miami for making the Connectivity Modeling System (CMS) open source particle tracking model available. We thank the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) ( for providing the GLORYS2V4 datasets and GEBCO ( for providing the bathymetry datasets. We gratefully acknowledge Denis Dreano, Habib Toye Mahamadou Kele, Viswanadhapalli YesuBabu, Srinivas Desamsetti and Samah El Mohtar for the technical support, and Michael Cusack for his help in editing this text. We thank the reviewers and editor for their constructive comments. This research made use of the computing resources of the Supercomputing Laboratory (Shaheen II) at KAUST. This publication is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), under the Virtual Red Sea Initiative Grant #REP/1/3268-01-01


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