Anna Roik

Coral Reef Formation Processes

​​​Anna Roik comes from Germany where she attended Ruhr-University of Bochum for her master’s degree in Bioscience and Ecology. She learned about KAUST through an announcement for a PhD position. She looked at the KAUST website and was fascinated by the vision of the University and decided to apply to KAUST’s Marine Science PhD program. She was thrilled when she heard she had been accepted.

Prior to joining KAUST, Anna had the opportunity to work on coral reef conservation in the South Caribbean. While evaluating restoration methods applied on coral reefs and working on improving conditions in a coral larvae and coral aqua culture, she experienced many surprises and became aware of the complexity of the mechanisms that drive the ecology and biology of marine organisms.

At KAUST, Anna works closely with her advisor, Dr. Christian Voolstra on environmental monitoring of the Saudi Red Sea coral reefs. Anna’s main area of interest is looking at how environmental settings determine bioerosion and calcification in coral reefs, which are processes that primarily define the existence and shape of the coral reef framework.

She hopes to understand the basics of how the coral reef growth responds to changes in any of the physico-chemical parameters throughout the seasons and geographic location of the reefs. Anna explains that this information is essential to forecast future responses of coral reefs and to take wise and efficient decisions about how to manage and help coral reefs survive climate change and increasing human pressure. This is crucial if we, as humanity, want to preserve these natural treasures hosting incredible biodiversity and valuable resources on our planet. She adds:

“It is an exciting undertaking gathering environmental and biological information in a region that has remained widely unexplored. The Red Sea is known to be a very unique environment among the world’s coral reefs. For instance, it experiences some of the warmest water temperatures worldwide. Maybe it can be used as a model of a future coral reef scenario!”

Anna chose KAUST because “it is the perfect place for Marine Science” and the “extraordinary” facilities available on campus help her conduct her research: “ You can go out on a boat for the field work and then straight away back into a well equipped lab to process samples immediately, without any wait time. You can hardly find this luxury anywhere else.” 

When she is not doing field or lab work, Anna likes to unwind practicing yoga or running on the beach. She is also president of the Underwater Photography student group at KAUST, who aim to share and spread their enthusiasm for the underwater world among KAUST community.

Further Information:
Red Sea Research Center