Project groups


Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Eberhard Gischler

Coral reefs are the "rainforests of the sea" and exhibit the highest biodiversity in the marine realm. Diversity, abundance, and distribution of benthic foraminifera, mollusks, and corals of mid- to late-Quaternary reef terraces will be investigated quantitatively within the shallow marine component of the land-sea-transect. Ecological models such as the intermediate disturbance or community unity hypotheses may be evaluated based on the new data. Results will furthermore be used in order to compare aspects of biodiversity to climate variation, which will eventually help to make predictions for future biodiversity variability. A large number of datable and well preserved reef terraces, which formed due to neotectonic uplift, can be found along the Red Sea and Persian Gulf shorelines. The existence of living reefs in close proximity allows comparisons of Pleistocene and modern ecosystems. Furthermore, the variation in biodiversity will be studied at high resolution and continuously along existing cores from Holocene atoll lagoons in the Maldives. These data are well-suited in order to compare shallow marine biodiversity changes during the past ca. 11.000 years with those in the terrestrial and open marine projects along the land-sea-traverse. It is planned to apply for additional funding for these studies with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Comparisons with our results from late Quaternary reefs in Belize and Florida will give us additional information regarding the reactions of highly diverse ecosystems to climate change.

Modern coral reef
Modern coral reefs at southern Sinai peninsula, Egypt, Red Sea (Photo: E. Gischler)

Fossil coral reef
Fossil coral reef (130.000 yrs BP) in reef terrace at southern Sinai peninsula, Egypt, Red Sea (Phot: E. Gischler)

 External Collaborators

Dr. Zahra Karimi Mossadegh
Dr. Justin Parker


Dr. David Storz, Researcher


Gischler, E., Mossadegh, Z.K., Parker, J.H. & D. Storz (2010) : Biodiversität von Riffterrassen im Roten Meer.- Natur und Museum, 140 (9/10): 224-227.

Gischler, E., Storz, D. & D. Schmitt (2014) : Sizes, shapes, and patterns of coral reefs in the Maldives, Indian Ocean: the influence of wind, storms, and precipitation on a major tropical carbonate platform. - Carbonates and Evaporites 29: 73-87.

Gischler, E. & A. Möder (2009) : Modern benthic foraminifera on Banco Chinchorro, Quintana Roo, Mexico. - Facies 55: 27-35.

Gischler, E. & D. Storz (2009) : High-resolution windows into Holocene climate using proxy data from Belize corals (Central America). - Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 89: 211–221.

Gischler, E. (2009) : Das Gedächtnis der Korallen - Wie Klimadaten gespeichert werden. - Abgetaucht. Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, p. 72-81.

Gischler, E., Hudson, J.H. & D. Storz (2009) : Growth of Pleistocene massive corals in south Florida: low skeletal extension-rates and possible ENSO, decadal, and multi-decadal cyclicities. - Coral Reefs 28:823–830.

Klostermann, L., Gischler, E., Storz, D. & J.H. Hudson (2014) : Sedimentary record of late Holocene event beds in a mid-ocean atoll lagoon, Maldives, Indian Ocean: Potential for deposition by tsunamis. - Marine Geology 348: 37-43.

Kuhnt, T., Schiebel, R., Schmiedl, G., Milker, Y., Mackensen, A. & O. Friedrich (2014) : Automated and manual analyses of the pore density-to-oxygen relationship in Globobulimina turgida (BAILEY). -Journal of Foraminiferal Research 44: 5-16.

Mossadegh, Z.K., Parker, J.H. & E. Gischler (2012) : Biodiversity and community structure of Late Pleistocene foraminifera from Kish Island, Persian Gulf (Iran).- Facies 58: in press (published online 31 January 2012). 

Mossadegh, Z.K., Parker, J.H., Gischler, E., Oschmann, W., Blakeway, D. & A. Eisenhauer (2013) : Palaeoecology of well preserved coral communities in a siliciclastic environment from the Late Pleistocene (MIS 7), Kish Island, Persian Gulf (Iran): the development of low-relief reef frameworks (biostromes) in increasingly restricted environments.- International Journal of Earth Sciences 102: 545-570.

Parker, J.H., Gischler, E. & A. Eisenhauer (2012) : Biodiversity of Late Pleistocene to Holocene Foraminifera from South Sinai, Egypt.- Marine Micropaleontology 86-87: 59-75.

Parker, J.H. & E. Gischler (2011) : Modern foraminiferal distribution and diversity in two atolls from the Maldives, Indian Ocean. - Marine Micropaleontology 78(1-2): 30-49.

Schultz, S., Gischler, E. & W. Oschmann, W. (2010) : Holocene trends in distribution and diversity of benthic foraminifera assemblages in atoll lagoons, Belize, Central America . -  Facies, 56: 323-336.
Link to Publication

Storz, D., Gischler, E., Fiebig, J., Eisenhauer, A. & D. Garbe-Schönberg (2013) : Evaluation of oxygen isotope and Sr/Ca ratios from a maledivian scleractinian coral for reconstruction of climate variability in the northwestern Indian Ocean. - Palaios 28: 42-55.

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