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Red Sea Decade Expedition 2022

The Red Sea is a narrow ocean basin between Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea, in the west, and Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the east. The Red Sea is distinctive in many ways, containing the world’s warmest and saltiest water, as well as one of the world’s most heavily trafficked passageways between Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. OceanX returns to the Red Sea to further scientific exploration of its historic depths, extensive biological communities, and novel ecosystems.

Science Objective

Our scientific objectives were wide reaching and built upon our discoveries and collaborations from our first Red Sea Mission. We expanded upon our prior work by conducting holistic surveys of shallow and deep-water habitats along the coastline of Saudi Arabia as well as megafauna distribution. We worked to characterize mesophotic reefs, collect eDNA for current and historical biodiversity assessments, and map the seafloor of the Red Sea coastline from 50 m – 3,000 m, and explore novel deep-sea features unknown to science.

Science Accomplishments:

  • 69,254 square km of habitat were mapped
  • 139 ROV dives were performed
  • 89 sub dives were performed
  • 3,223 samples from underwater vehicles were collected
  • 173 CTD casts conducted
  • 950 samples collected
  • 53 scuba dives with 41 samples collected from scuba dives
  • 186 hours of helicopter flights
  • 1,318 individual megafauna sightings (whale sharks, Bryde's whales, hammerheads, thresher sharks, dugongs, oceanic manta rays)
  • 101 drone flights
  • 3 oceanic vortexes identified in the Red Sea
  • 42 hours of predator footage with over 100 encounters (Beneath The Waves)
  • Coral communities observed and characterized up to 400 m below the surface
  • Collected drone footage of the SS Argonaftis
  • Collected footage on small and large chimney fields along the shores of a brine pool


Angulo-Preckler, C., Steckbauer, A., Armelles, I., Agustí, S., Rodrigue, M., Pieribone, V., Qurban, M., & Duarte, C. M. (2023). First record of a live adult heteropod Firoloida desmarestia in the Red Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10, 1215195.

Frappi, S., Williams, C., Pilcher, N., Rodrigue, M., Marshall, P., Pieribone, V., Duarte, C. M. (2023). New depth records and novel feeding observations of three elasmobranchs species in the eastern red sea. Frontiers in Marine Science,

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