Yvonne Sawall

Environmental Studies

Areas of Expertise for Media Inquiries:
Benthic Ecology, Coral Reef Ecology, Coral Ecophysiology

About me

My passion for biology, in particular for tropical corals, brought me to extensive expeditions in Asia and along the entire Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast. On-site I often experienced low environmental awareness, due to a lack of education. This evoked a desire to explain to locals and tourists the functionality, beauty and vulnerability of coral reef ecosystem, which in return ensure the livelihood of many coastal populations. I believe that the AGYA provides an ideal platform to target such a project by a multidisciplinary approach, where natural and social scientists work together.

Further, new collaborations with Arab countries around the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea are highly desirable to intensify research on their diverse coral reefs. The Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea belong to the hottest ocean basins worldwide, thereby offering an ideal natural laboratory to investigate the potential of coral reef adaptation to Global Warming.

Current projects


  • Member of the AGYA working group Energy, Water and Environment
  • Bilateral Saudi Arabian and German project “Jeddah-Transect” , finished since mid-2013, possibly extended
  • GEOMAR, Benthic Ecology group, since mid-2013: Biogenic modulated environmental conditions (strong fluctuations of pCO2 and O2) under different Global Change scenarios and effect on invertebrate calcification

Academic Career

2016 - Researcher at the COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL), Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science; Bermuda
2013 - 2016
Post-doc Researcher, GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research; Kiel, Germany
2011 Post-doc Researcher, Saudi-German project “Jeddah Transect” funded by the GEOMAR (Kiel) and King Abdulaziz University
2011 PhD in Biology, University of Bremen; Germany
2007 - 2010 PhD candidate as part of the German-Indonesian BMBF project SPICE (Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems), Leibniz-Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT); Bremen, Germany
2007 - 2010 Bremen International Graduate School for Marine Sciences with the focus "Global Change in the Marine Realm" (GLOMAR), Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM); Bremen, Germany
2007 Research Assistant, Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology; Bremen, Germany
2006 Research Assistant, Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT): Assistance in the preparation of an excursion to Thailand; Bremen, Germany
2006 MSc International Studies of Aquatic Tropical Ecology (ISATEC), University of Bremen; Germany

Selected Publications


  • Sawall, Y., Al-Sofyani, A., Banguera-Hinestroza, E. & Voolstra, C. (2014). Spatio-temporal analyses of zooxanthellae physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa along large-scale nutrient and temperature gradients in the Red Sea, PLoS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0103179.
  • Sawall, Y., Al-Sofyani, A., Kürten, B., Al-Aidaroos, A. M., Hoang, B. X., Marimuthu, N., Khomayis, H. S., Sommer, U., Gharbawi, W. Y. & Wahl, M. (2014). Coral communities, in contrast to fish communities, maintain a high assembly similarity along the large latitudinal gradient along the Saudi Red Sea coast, Journal of Ecology and Ecography, S4: 003. doi: 10.4172/2157-7625.S4-003.
  • Sawall, Y., Richter, C. & Ramette, A. (2012). Effects of eutrophication, seasonality and macrofouling on the diversity of bacterial biofilms associated with coral reefs of the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia, PLoS ONE 7(7): e39951.

see a full list of publications>


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science

17 Biological Station Ferry Reach St.George's GE 01 Bermuda


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