Research Interests

Prof. Carlos Duarte is a prominent leader in many branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology. From his early research days in Spain, Duarte has established himself as one of the leading global authorities on the ecology of seagrass meadows and coastal ecosystems. 

Throughout his multifaceted research career, Duarte has participated in research expeditions all over the world from the tropics to both poles studying ecological systems, biogeochemical cycles, coastal systems, macrophytes, microbes, seagrasses, and open ocean gyres. Duarte, who is the current Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology, has also served as the Director of the KAUST Red Sea Research Center (RSRC). 

Presently his research within the RSRC focuses on the pressing global marine science problems of our time. He also lends his expertise to many of the Kingdom's upcoming mega projects that revolve around the Red Sea and Vision 2030, including The Red Sea Project and NEOM.

​Professor Carlos Duarte's research focuses on understanding the impacts of global change in marine ecosystems, and addressing all components -- spanning from microbes to megafauna.

His research involves two nodes of separate but complementary interests: one on the metabolic and elemental budgets of marine ecosystems and their connectivity in space, and the other on the stability and dynamics of marine habitats and the maintenance of biodiversity, including demographics, space occupation and gene flow. His research is poised at the interface between Earth and Sustainability Science, increasingly involving interdisciplinary components.

Education Profile

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1987
  • B.Sc., Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, 1982

Professional Profile

  • 2020 - Present: Distinguished ​Professor, Tarek Ahmed Juffali Chair in Marine Ecology, Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2015 – 2020: Professor and Tarek Ahmed Juffali Chair in Marine Ecology, Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2016 - 2018: Director, Red Sea Research Center, KAUST
  • 2014 – 2017: Adjunct Professor, University of Trømso, Norway
  • 2012 – 2015: Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Marine Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 2011 – 2015: Winthrop Professor and Director, The UWA Oceans Institute. Part time appointment 0.5 FTE
  • 1999 – cont.: Research Professor, IMEDEA, Spanish National Research Council, Mallorca, Spain, on leave since January 13, 2015).
  • 1989 – 1999: Research Scientist, Spanish National Research Council, CEAB, Blanes, Spain
  • 1987 – 1989 Post-doctoral Fellow, Spanish National Research Council, Barcelona, Spain​

Scientific and Professional Memberships

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)


  • Prof. Duarte has received many honors for his work including the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (2001)
  • the National Science Award of Spain (2007)
  • and the King James I Award for Research on Environmental Protection (2009). 
  • In 2009, he received the Silver Medal Cross of Merit from the Guardia Civil, Spain, for his service to environmental protection.
  • In 2011, he also received the Prix d’Excellence, the highest honour awarded by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). He has received honorary doctorates from the Université de Québec a Montrèal (Canada) in 2010 and
  • Utrecht University (The Netherlands) (2012)
  • He has been named “Highly Cited Scientist”, recognizing him as one of the most influential scientists in the world by Thompson Reuters, both in 2005 and the 2014 update of the list. 
  • Elected Sustaining Fellow of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (2016)
  • Sustaining Fellow, Advancing the Science of Limnology and Oceanography, ASLO (2017)
  • Carlo Heip International Award for outstanding accomplishments in marine biodiversity science, World Marine Biodiversity Conference (2018)
  • 2018 Blaise Pascal Medal for Earth and Environmental Sciences, European Academy of Sciences (2018) 
  • Highly Cited Scientist (Clarivert Analytics) also named in all previous assessments (2018)
  • Appointed Fellow to the European Academy of Science (2018)
  • Premi Ramon Margalef d'Ecologia award (2019)