Michael L. Berumen

Michael L. Berumen
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology | KAUST · Red Sea Research Center

Ph.D.

About

598
Publications
148,610
Reads
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12,485
Citations
Citations since 2017
311 Research Items
8808 Citations
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Introduction
Our group is primarily interested in questions of movement ecology of reef organisms, including tracking adult migrations, ontogenetic habitat shifts, and larval dispersal. At the evolutionary end of the connectivity scale, we are also interested in phylogeny and biodiversity studies, particularly with respect to Red Sea fauna. http://reefecology.kaust.edu.sa
Additional affiliations
October 2009 - present
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Position
  • Adjunct Scientist
June 2009 - present
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • http://reefecology.kaust.edu.sa
July 2007 - June 2009
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
July 2002 - March 2007
James Cook University
Field of study
  • Marine Biology
August 1998 - May 2001
University of Arkansas
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (598)
Article
Full-text available
(1) Background: Plastic pollution is a major environmental concern confronting marine animals. Sea turtles are considered a bio-indicator of plastic pollution, but there is little information regarding plastic ingestion by turtles in the Red Sea. With large-scale development projects being built along the Saudi Arabian coast, it is important to hav...
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Background Hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) are Critically Endangered throughout their global range, and concerningly little is known about this species in the Red Sea. With large-scale coastal development projects underway in the northern Red Sea, it is critical to understand the movement and habitat use patterns of hawksbill turtles i...
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Macroalgae canopies are common in tropical coastlines, and can be feeding grounds for coral reef fishes. We investigated whether fish transfer algal material from Sargassum-dominated macroalgae habitats to coral reefs by collecting gut contents of two herbivorous fish species (Naso elegans and N. unicornis) from coral reefs in the central Red Sea....
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This report provides the first confirmed identifications of wahoo ( Acanthocybium solandri ) and striped marlin ( Kajikia audax ) in the Red Sea, expanding the known ranges of these species into the basin. Potential mechanisms responsible for the lack of regional documentation of the two species are further discussed. These findings illustrate the...
Article
Several marine biogeographical provinces meet at the Arabian Peninsula. Where and how these junctions affect species is poorly understood. We herein aimed to identify the barriers to dispersal and how these shape fish populations, leading to differing biogeographies despite shared habitat and co‐ancestry. Dascyllus marginatus (endemic) and Dascyllu...
Preprint
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Marine vegetated habitats such as seagrass, mangroves, and macroalgae are common in tropical coastlines globally, providing habitats for a diversity of organisms. Many tropical fish use these habitats, including juvenile fish and species found on coral reefs. Understanding the use of these habitats by different fish species and life stages is funda...
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Ocean warming is leading to more frequent coral bleaching events. However, cold stress can also induce bleaching in corals. Here, we report observations of a boreal winter bleaching event in January 2020 in the central Red Sea, mainly within a popu- lation of the branching coral Stylophora pistillata on an offshore reef flat. Sea surface temperatur...
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The combination of molecular tools, standard surveying techniques, and long-term monitoring programs are relevant to understanding environmental and ecological changes in coral reef communities. Here we studied temporal variability in cryptobenthic coral reef communities across the continental shelf in the central Red Sea spanning 6 years (three sa...
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Social hierarchies within groups define the distribution of resources and provide benefits that support the collective group or favor dominant members. The progression of individuals through social hierarchies is a valuable characteristic for quantifying population dynamics. On coral reefs, some clownfish maintain size-based hierarchical communitie...
Article
In November 2020, we observed several individuals and collected one juvenile of an unidentified anthiadine fish (Serranidae) between depths of 250‐307m near vertical walls of rocky reefs in the northern Red Sea. Further morphological and molecular analyses revealed that the collected specimen matches Sacura boulengeri, a species previously reported...
Article
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The Red Sea is particularly biodiverse, hosting high levels of endemism and numerous populations whose extinction risk is heightened by their relative isolation. Elasmobranchs and sea turtles have likely suffered recent declines in this region, although data on their distribution and biology are severely lacking, especially on the eastern side of t...
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Understanding species-specific resource requirements is paramount in managing and protecting biodiversity in a world where environmental quality is in decline. Dietary data can inform predator–prey relationships and how changes in prey availability impact different species. However, for many coral reef fishes, prey and predatory events can be diffi...
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Despite the large size and economic value of the species, populations of oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris) are often poorly studied and almost completely undescribed in the Red Sea. Here, photo‐identification (photo‐ID) was used to provide the first description of M. birostris movement patterns and population demographics for the northern Red Se...
Article
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Background Anthropogenic sources can lead to the accumulation of heavy metals in marine organisms through ingestion, absorption, or inhalation. For sea turtle embryos, heavy metals can be absorbed into the egg from the incubation environment or be maternally transferred to the offspring causing neurological, reproductive, and developmental problems...
Article
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Demographic analyses offer insight into the state of a population. Here, we surveyed different reef flat zones (exposed, midreef and sheltered) of six reefs over a cross-shelf gradient to characterize the population structure of Stylophora pistillata, a coral species which dominates reef flats in the central Red Sea. Phototransects were conducted a...
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Background There is relatively little published information about sea turtle nesting distribution and seasonality in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Upcoming large-scale developments occurring along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast could negatively affect many sea turtle nesting beaches with potential impacts on the survival of local populations. Method...
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Scleractinian corals provide habitats for a broad variety of cryptofauna, which in turn may contribute to the overall functioning of coral symbiomes. Among these invertebrates, hydrozoans belonging to the genus Zanclea represent an increasingly known and ecologically important group of coral symbionts. In this study, we analysed 321 Zanclea colonie...
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Effective conservation strategies are founded by baseline information on abundance and diversity estimates. Method choice can influence the success of baseline surveys as method performance is variable and needs to be selected based on habitat and taxa. Here, we assess the suitability of unoccupied aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys, specifically multi-r...
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A new species of sparid fish, Acanthopagrus oconnorae, is described on the basis of 11 specimens collected in the shallow (0‐1 m depth) mangrove‐adjacent sandflats of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: second anal‐fin spine 12.8‐16.6% of SL; 3½ scale rows between the...
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Merten’s carpet sea anemone, Stichodactyla mertensii Brandt, 1835, is the largest known sea anemone species in the world, regularly exceeding one meter in oral disc diameter. A tropical species from the Indo-Pacific, S. mertensii drapes prominently over coral reef substrates and is a common host to numerous species of clownfishes and other symbiont...
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Significance Global vessel traffic is increasing alongside world economic growth. The potential for rising lethal ship strikes on endangered species of marine megafauna, such as the plankton-feeding whale shark, remains poorly understood since areas of highest overlap are seldom determined across an entire species range. Here we show how satellite...
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We observed groupers with an unusual color pattern in Ghoubet-Al-Kharab Bay, Djibouti, on two occasions in 2014 and 2020. It matches the field observation of a juvenile Cephalopholis formosa in India in 1980. If this is the case, our observation represents a major range extension for C. formosa . Alternatively, based on the intermediate coloration...
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Many large marine species are vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures, and substantial declines have been documented across a range of taxa. Many of these species are also long-lived, have low individual resighting rates and high levels of individual heterogeneity in capture probability, which complicates assessments of their conservation status with...
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The whale shark Rhincodon typus is found throughout the world's tropical and warm-temperate ocean basins. Despite their broad physical distribution, research on the species has been concentrated at a few aggregation sites. Comparing DNA sequences from sharks at different sites can provide a demographically neutral understanding of the whale shark's...
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Timing and location of transient reef fish spawning aggregations are fundamental data required to effectively manage populations, particularly those exposed to commercial fisheries. The giant trevally ( Caranx ignobilis ) is a semipelagic apex predator of ecological, economic, and cultural significance across its Indo-Pacific range, yet information...
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Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly being used to assess community composition in marine ecosystems. Applying eDNA approaches across broad spatial scales now provide the potential to inform biogeographic analyses. However, to date, few studies have employed this technique to assess broad biogeographic patterns across multiple taxonomic groups....
Preprint
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Monitoring and detecting fish behaviors provide essential information on fish welfare and contribute to achieving intelligent production in global aquaculture. This work proposes an efficient approach to analyze the spatial distribution status and motion patterns of juvenile clownfish (Amphiprion bicinctus) maintained in aquaria at three stocking d...
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Background The Red Sea contains thousands of kilometers of fringing reef systems inhabited by clownfish and sea anemones, yet there is no consensus regarding the diversity of host anemone species that inhabit this region. We sought to clarify a historical record and recent literature sources that disagree on the diversity of host anemone species in...
Article
This paper studies fish growth trajectory tracking using Q-learning under a representative bioenergetic growth model of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The fish growth rate varies in practice and cannot be easily estimated due to the complex aquaculture condition and variable environmental factors. Additionally, the growth trajectory tracking...
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An integrated approach using morphological and genetic data is needed to disentangle taxonomic uncertainties affecting the hydrozoan families Sphaerocorynidae and Zancleopsidae. Here we used this approach to accurately characterise species in these families, identify the previously unknown polyp stages of the genera Euphysilla and Zancleopsis, whic...
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Early research into coral reproductive biology suggested that spawning synchrony was driven by variations in the amplitude of environmental variables that are correlated with latitude, with synchrony predicted to break down at lower latitudes. More recent research has revealed that synchronous spawning, both within and among species, is a feature o...
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Symbiotic relationships contribute considerably to the high biodiversity found on coral reefs. Coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae) represent a prime example of coral-associated invertebrates that exhibit obligate relationships with their host. The induction of a skeletal modification in the coral, used as a dwelling by the crab, is the most...
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1. Understanding larval connectivity patterns in exploited fishes is a fundamental prerequisite for developing effective management strategies and assessing the vulnerability of a fishery to recruitment overfishing and localised extinction. To date, however, researchers have not considered how regional variations in fishing pressure also influence...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly being used to assess community composition in marine ecosystems. Applying eDNA approaches across broad spatial scales now provide the potential to inform biogeographic analyses. However, to date, few studies have employed this technique to assess broad biogeographic patterns across multiple taxonomic groups....
Article
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The Arabian pupfish, Aphanius dispar , is a euryhaline fish inhabiting both inland nearly-freshwater desert ponds and highly saline Red Sea coastal lagoons of the Arabian Peninsula. Desert ponds and coastal lagoons, located respectively upstream and at the mouths of dry riverbeds (“wadies”), have been found to potentially become connected during pe...
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In precision aquaculture, the primary goal is to maximize biomass production while minimizing production costs. This objective can be achieved by optimizing factors that have a strong influence on fish growth, such as feeding rate, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. This paper provides a comparative study of four model predictive control (MPC) stra...
Preprint
Full-text available
Social hierarchies within groups define the distribution of resources and provide benefits that support the collective group or favor dominant members. The progression of individuals through social hierarchies is a valuable characteristic for quantifying population dynamics. On coral reefs, a number of small site-attached fish maintain size-based h...
Article
Full-text available
Determining how growth rates and body size vary spatially and among reef fish species is important to understanding functional traits and demographic trade-offs. Variability in reef fish growth trajectories may be influenced by intrinsic (e.g., biological, phylogenetic) and extrinsic factors (e.g., environmental), as well as their interaction via e...
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The hydrozoan family Cladocorynidae inhabits tropical to temperate waters and comprises the two genera Pteroclava and Cladocoryne. Pteroclava lives in association with some octocorals and hydrozoans, whereas Cladocoryne is more generalist in terms of substrate choice. This work provides a thorough morpho-molecular reassessment of the Cladocorynidae...
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Very little is known about the ecology and biology of the smallest marine vertebrates, fishes in the genus Schindleria. Even though over half of named Schindleria species have been identified in the Red Sea, the collection of only very few specimens has been documented. Here, we assessed abundance patterns of nearly two thousand Red Sea long dorsal...
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106,107 ✉ replying to A. V. Harry & J. M. Braccini Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03463-w (2021) Our global analysis 1 estimated the overlap and fishing exposure risk (FEI) using the space use of satellite-tracked sharks and longline fishing effort monitored by the automatic identification system (AIS). In the accompanying Comment, Harry...
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This article is a response to Murua et al.'s Matters Arising article in Nature, "Shark mortality cannot be assessed by fishery overlap alone," which arose from arising from N. Queiroz et al. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1444-4 (2019).
Article
Sea turtle scute abnormalities are observed in higher proportion in hatchlings compared to adults, suggesting that hatchlings with a non-modal scute pattern (NMSP) have a lower chance of surviving to adulthood. In this study, we collected 732 newly emerged hatchlings from Redang Island, Malaysia, and compared their scute classification, size, and m...
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Intensified coastal development is compromising the health and functioning of marine ecosystems. A key example of this is the Red Sea, a biodiversity hotspot subjected to increasing local human pressures. While some marine protected areas (MPAs) were placed to alleviate these stressors, it is unclear whether these MPAs are managed or enforced, thus...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Arabian pupfish, Aphanius dispar, is a euryhaline fish inhabiting both inland nearly-freshwater desert ponds and highly saline Red Sea coastal lagoons of the Arabian Peninsula. Red Sea populations have been found to receive migrants from desert ponds that are flushed out to sea during flash floods, requiring rapid acclimation to a greater than...