Diversity and ecology of the coral genus Leptoseris in mesophotic environments


Project Description

Coral-dominated benthic mesophotic communities are receiving increasing attention as new technologies allow their exploration and new molecular approaches are used to understand the evolution of the organisms that are part of them. They remain, however, largely unexplored and several aspects of their biological diversity and biogeography have not been addressed so far. Among the dominant taxa in benthic mesophotic assemblages, the scleractinian genus Leptoseris is particularly challenging in terms of our understanding of its diversity and ecology. We are looking for a graduate student to investigate: 1) an assessment of the morpho-molecular diversity of mesophotic Leptoseris in the Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific, 2) a preliminary characterization of the zooxanthellae communities associated to mesophotic Leptoseris.
Program - Marine Science
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Field of Study - ​​Coral reef biodiversity

About the

Francesca Benzoni

Associate Professor, Marine Science

Francesca Benzoni
Dr. Francesca Benzoni is an Associate Professor of Marine Science in the KAUST Red Sea Research Center (RSRC). Prof. Benzoni is a marine biologist and her research has focused on the evolution, diversity and ecology of corals and coral-dominated assemblages in the Indo-Pacific region, with a strong focus on the seas around Arabia.