Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Institute will convene a three-day public conference on Coral Reefs of the Gulf from January 17-19, 2012. The conference will bring together leading regional and international scientists and environment experts to discuss the current understanding of local coral reefs.

A series of themed topics will encourage dialogue on the direction of future research on the Gulf marine environment and how it can be better integrated with marine management systems. Session topics will include the natural history of Gulf reefs, environmental extremes and climate change, and future threats and opportunities. The conference follows a November 2011 report from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) calling for greater cooperation amongst regional countries to protect the marine environment of the Arabian Gulf.

The conference will be opened by David McGlennon, Vice Provost of Research Administration & University Partnerships at NYUAD, and H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

"Coral reefs have a special place in the lives of Emiratis and the economy of our country. They have particular importance in a scientific context in that, given their existence in such an extreme environment, they may offer us insight into what the coral reefs of the world may look like in the future given increasing temperatures. This is a very timely conference and I have no doubt that the sharing of information will enhance the understanding of our coral reef ecosystems," said H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

John Burt, Assistant Professor of Biology at NYUAD, said: "The Arabian Gulf is one large ecosystem, so it is important to encourage regional cooperation in protecting this valuable resource. This conference has been designed to begin a proactive dialogue amongst experts in the field to investigate how we can better incorporate research into creating and implementing effective strategies for conservation of marine life on coral reefs in the region."

Two special public evening lectures will be featured during the conference; both commencing at 6:30pm at the InterContinental Hotel.

On January 17, Margaret Wertheim, Founder and Co-Director of The Institute for Figuring, will lead an event titled: "Woolly Wonder: A Yarn about Coral Reefs, Global Warming, Hyperbolic Geometry, and Community Art Practice." Wertheim will talk about the inspiration behind her project to create an expansive crochet woolen reef integrating both art and science, which has been displayed in leading museums around the world.

On January 18, Peter Sale, Assistant Director of UNU-INWEH, will discuss the impact of coastal development on the Arabian Gulf in the lecture "Towards Sustainable Management of a Shared, and Economically, Biologically, Culturally and Aesthetically Important Marine Environment."

About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
The NYU Abu Dhabi Institute hosts academic conferences, workshops, lectures, film series, performances, and other public programs directed both to local audiences and to the worldwide academic and research community. It is a center of the scholarly community for Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and the Gulf, bringing together faculty and students from institutions of higher learning throughout the region.