Qatar Natural History Group

People, Nature, Culture

December Talk: Virtual exploration of the ecology in the marine and terrestrial environments of the Qatari desert.


Date & Time: Wednesday, December 9th video Conferencing  Starting at 6 pm. 

Speakers: Dr. Greta Aeby, Coral reef ecologist, Qatar University
Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou, Ecologist, Research Scientist, Brain Chemistry Labs, USA,
Executive Director, The Wilderness Series

Registrations: Video conference via Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams Link to register for the talk:

Synopsis of talks 

Have you ever wondered if there is anything special about the Arabian Gulf waters that surround Qatar,or whether there is any life in the desert?

During this talk co-hosted by QNHG and QNL, you will be guided in a virtual exploration of the magnificent and colorful nature in Qatar. Dr. Aeby, will illuminate the busy activity of organisms in the marine environment, while Dr. Chatziefthimiou, will bring to life the protagonists in the land area. The total ecology will be brought together, to reveal how these resilient communities interact with one another and with their physical milieu. Climate emergency and nature conservation willbe discussed, and simple yet significant steps that we can take to help solve these problems will be showcased.

We hope that this talk will be the spark for many nature explorations and joyous discoveries, as well as inspiration to alleviate climate change and help the conservation of our nature and her species.


Speakers biographies

Dr. Greta Aeby received her Ph.D. in coral evolution and ecology from the University of Hawaii and completed post-doctoral training in coral bleaching and disease at the University of West Florida. She headed a research lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology for a decade where her team of colleagues and students investigated coral disease ecology throughout the Indo-Pacific. 

While in Hawaii, in collaboration with Hawaii State resource managers she developed Hawaii’s Rapid Response Contingency Plan for Coral Bleaching and Disease and developed Hawaii’s Eyes of the Reef Network, a citizen science programto help managers identify events of coral bleaching, disease and marine invasive species.  She is now working with researchers at Qatar University to understand coral health and disease of Qatar’s coral reefs. 


Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou  received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers, the State University of NJ, USA. Her passion is origins of life in extreme environments, and she likes to think about how communities of organisms interact and make a living there, and how we can use this knowledge to conserve nature and ameliorate climate change induced phenomena.

One of her career’s most precious moments, was her dive in the deep-submersible Alvin in the deep-sea hydrothermal vents of the East Pacific Rise, where she discovered a novel microorganism. Currently, Dr. Aspa is a Research Scientist at Brain Chemistry Labs - USA, and based in Qatar, she studies the ecological role of toxins in drylands, toxins that have been shown to cause neurodegenerative disease in humans and other animals. She is part of national and international teams carrying research in the fields of ecology, antibiotic resistance monitoring, sustainable development, and conservation. She is very well published in scientific journals and books, as well as press media, and has been part of a documentary on desert toxins. For her intricate knowledge on the above fields and on environmental legislation, she is a very sought-after ecological consultant locally in Qatar.

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