Dr. Royale Hardenstine

Research Scientist


Research Interests

Royale is originally from a small town located in Pennsylvania, in the US. Her passion for the ocean, led her to pursue her undergrad degree at the University of New England, Biddeford ME. While there, she spent most of her spare time volunteering at the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center on campus, where she worked with sick and injured seals and sea turtles for a little under 3 years. She spent some time as in intern in animal care and education in Florida before applying to KAUST. A semester abroad spent in Tanzania got her interested in whale shark aggregations and eventually led her to study whale sharks at KAUST.

​She completed her Master's degree at KAUST in 2015 and remained in the Reef Ecology Lab for her PhD. ​Her broad research interests focus on whale shark aggregations and ecology. This involves working with photo identification of whale sharks from the aggregation found in Al Lith, Saudi Arabia. Royale's Master's work included taking a closer look at the genetics of this particular aggregation, as well as the Tanzanian aggregation, which continues to be an interest. Her PhD work investigated what the whale sharks at the Al Lith aggregation are eating and assisting with other ongoing whale shark projects. She is also interested in other cartilaginous fishes, but has plenty of love to go around for all ocean critters. Find her on Twitter @RoyaleWithSeas.