An Alien place on Earth – The Red Sea as model system

Can you imagine a place where organisms seem to ignore the negative effects of harsh environmental conditions? A place where they thrive instead of slowly disappear? Frontiers for Young Minds presents an article Collection on the Red Sea where editors Christian Voolstra and Rúben Costa will show our young readers that this place really exists, and that we don’t need to look too far to find it.

— by Anna Pena

Climate change and its consequences are currently on the agenda of many researchers and politicians. People struggle not only to find ways to stop global warming but also to predict its effects on our planet and its organisms. We live on a blue planet, existing of around 74% of water, so our seas and oceans are a big part of these predictions. But what if we had a living example of what climate change might bring upon us in front of our noses? Look no further than the Middle East, right between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa!

Christian Voolstra of the KAUST Red Sea Research Center explains why studying the Red Sea might bring us closer to the answers we are seeking: “The Red Sea can serve as the largest experiment on earth to study the impacts of climate change”.

“By learning what is unique to this sea, for example its warmer temperatures, we can understand the mechanisms that some of its residents use to cope with such challenging conditions. This knowledge may potentially help us to predict how other organisms will adapt to the climate change in the future.” adds co-editor Rúben Costa, also from the KAUST Red Sea Research Center.

Our planet is changing fast in front of our eyes and we are running out of time to maintain the environmental stability, as we know it. Rúben admits: “Unfortunately, climate change is a topic desperately in need of being disseminated and understood at the youngest age possible, because this generation is probably the last one to be able to actively change the future of the planet as we know it today.”

“From corals, to fish, mangroves and microscopic life, our Collection’s aim is for the Young Minds to discover all the biodiversity and characteristics that make the Red Sea a unique environment”, promises Rúben.

Prepare to dive into this Collection and read its two first articles on How High Salinity Helps Corals To Be Stronger and How Algae Help Corals Survive Temperature Stress.