Reem has recently completed her PhD degree (2016-2020) with the majority of her research being part of the Coral Reef Research Unit at the University of Essex, UK under the supervision of Dr. Leanne J Hepburn , Prof. David J Smith and Dr. Michelle L Taylor. Her PhD project focused on assessing the accretional health of coral reefs through quantifying the reefs carbonate budget in Bahrain (the Arabian Gulf), the Seychelles (the Western Indian Ocean) and Indonesia (Central Indo-Pacific) all of which have different thermal regimes. Quantifying reef carbonate budgets is important as they provides insights as to whether reefs are maintaining their structural integrity (through producing calcium carbonate at a rate that exceeds erosion) and thus are at an advantage to keep up with sea level rise or whether reefs are in an erosive state thereby threatening the stability of the islands they surround.

In addition her research aimed at exploring the diversity of the unique coral-Symbiodiniaceae partnership across the three bioregions providing insights into whether the associations made are with thermo-tolerant clades which could potentially enable reefs to survive bleaching  in light of a warming planet.

Reem’s work is the first of its kind to be conducted in Bahrain thereby contributing towards filling the current knowledge gaps thereby enhancing coral reef management for conservation.


The Bahrain Reef Budget Project would like to acknowledge the following people for their tremendous help in making this project a success: Hanan Hassan, Hannah Lunt-Bell, Tamera Al Husseini and Jafar Habib for underwater assistance during the expeditions and Ahmed Al Aali for providing the space needed for training. Further gratitude goes to the University of Bahrain specifically Dr. Afnan Freije and Dr. Humood Naser for providing lab access. This work in Bahrain would not be possible without the generous funding of Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (BSC) – Bahrain and the support of Dr. Abdulrahman Jawahery. The work done in Indonesia was funded by Operation Wallacea and  in the Seychelles by Mitsubishi Corporation and the support of Earthwatch along with the Seychelles National Park Authority, all of for whom deep gratitude is extended.