Two UAE environmental projects are among 12 selected to share US$100,000 (Dh367,240) in grants from the Ford Motor Company.
One of the projects involves research by the Emirates Diving Association on algae-eating fish and their role in coral reefs. It received funding of $10,000.
The other project, which will study the Arabian oryx, received $7,000. It will be run by Biosphere Expeditions, an international organisation that teams up scientists and volunteers on expeditions to study endangered species.
Projects in Jordan, Kuwait and Oman will also receive funding, as will four in Lebanon.
The annual initiative has been running since 2000 and aims to fund grass-roots environmental organisations. It is open to participants in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Biosphere runs diving expeditions to the Musandam Peninsula in Oman. Next year it will have its first expedition in the UAE, to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Its project will also study the Gordon's wildcat and other endangered desert animals.
"Part of these grants will be used to involve local people who, through training and involvement with the project, can create awareness in the local community," said Rossella Meloni, the expedition leader.
Since its inception, the programme has distributed $1.2 million to more than 140 projects in the Gulf region.