Dr. Eslam Osman

Past members

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

Eslam received his PhD from University of Essex, UK, under supervision of Prof. David Smith and Dr. David Suggett. During his PhD, his research focused on corals in extreme environments to describe corals susceptibility to thermal stress along the Red Sea. He identified genetic variants of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae and the associated microbial community that may describe the tolerance of corals to extreme thermal anomalies along the Red Sea. During his postdoc at Penn State University, USA, with Prof. Iliana Baums, he investigated the acclimation mechanisms of corals living near methane seeps in the Gulf of Mexico using integrated genomic and ecological approaches.

Recently, Eslam was awarded an exploration grant from the National Geographic Society to assess the thermal threshold of corals along the latitudinal gradient of the Red Sea. He will explore coral reefs in Jordon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to characterize the physiological signature of "super corals" in the Red Sea to understand their acclimation mechanism(s). He is also interested to identify the functional role of the microbial community associated corals and how they facilitate corals survival in extreme environmental conditions.

Selected Publications

1. Osman, E.O., Suggett, D.J., Voolstra, C.R. D. Tye Pettay, Clark D.R., Pogoreutz C., Sampayo E.M., Warner M.E. & Smith D.J. (2020). Coral microbiome composition along the northern Red Sea suggests high plasticity of bacterial and specificity of endosymbiotic dinoflagellate communities. Microbiome 8, 8.

2. Vohsen, S.A., Anderson, K.E., Gade, A.M. Gruber-Vodicka H.R., Dannenberg R.P., Osman E.O., Dubilier N., Fisher C.R., Baums I.B. (2020). Deep-sea corals provide new insight into the ecology, evolution, and the role of plastids in widespread apicomplexan symbionts of anthozoans. Microbiome 8, 34.

3. Vohsen S.A., Gruber-Vodicka H.R., Osman E.O., Saxton M.A., Joye S.B., Dubilier N., Fisher C.R., Baums I.B. (2020) Deep-sea corals near cold seeps associate with chemoautotrophic bacteria that are related to the symbionts of cold seep and hydrothermal vent mussels. bioRxiv.

4. Kleinhaus K., Al-Sawalmih A., Barshis D.J., Genin A., Grace L.N., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Loya Y., Meibom A., Osman E.O., Ruch J-D, Shaked Y., Voolstra C.R., Zvuloni A. and Fine M. (2020). Science, Diplomacy, and the Red Sea’s Unique Coral Reef: It’s Time for Action. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:90.

5. Clifton, J., Osman, E. O., Suggett, D. J. & Smith, D. J. (2019). Resolving conservation and development tensions in a small island state: A governance analysis of Curieuse Marine National Park, Seychelles. Mar. Policy

6. Gardner S.G., Camp E.F., Smith D.J., Kahlke T., Osman E.O., Hume B.C.C., Pogoreutz C., Voolstra C.R., Suggett, D. J. (2019). Coral microbiome diversity reflects mass coral bleaching susceptibility during the 2016 El Niño heat wave. Ecol Evol. 9:938–956.

7. Eslam O. Osman, David J. Smith, Maren Ziegler, Benjamin Kürten, Constanze Conrad, Khaled M. El‐Haddad, Christian R. Voolstra, David J. Suggett (2018). Corals bleaching against thermal refugia in the northern Red Sea. Global Change Biology.


  • ​PhD; Marine Biology, University of Essex, 2017
  • M.Sc.; Marine Ecology (seagrass Ecology), 2010
  • BSc.; Marine Biology (with Honors, and first-class student), 2005

Professional Profile

  • ​2019-2020: Postdoctoral fellow, Penn State University, USA

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
  • Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Corals Resilience Microbial Ecology Functional Microbiome Corals Ecology