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A Study of Factors Influencing the Occurrence of Algae Bloom (HAB) along the Abu Dhabi Coast, UAE

A Masters in Science Thesis
by
Ms Buthaina Salem Saeed al Qubaisi

Abstract

During [the] last few years, the frequency of Harmful Algal Bloom[s] (HAB) has increased worldwide. The occurrence of HAB in the Gulf region has only recently been recorded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Specifically, these occuurrences have not been thoroughly investigated. This phenomena [which] was found to be associated with the increase in nutirent load, depletion of oxygen and a significant decrease in fish populatons . . .caused by . . .bloom[s] of . . .certain phytoplankton species, results in ecconomic and social problems. Therefore, the Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) has decided to conduct a study on different aspects of this phenomenon of which this thesis is part.

The purpose of this study is to address the following points:

1. Comparison of the environmental parameters in different stations along the Abu Dhabi Marine Coastal areas.

2. Studying phytoplankton composition in two different stations known [for] fish kill phenomenon.

3. Isolation and identification of phytoplankton known to be harmful.

4. Identification of common algal species and Harmful Algal Blooms in Abu Dhabi waters.

5. Identification of factors responsible for bloom formation.

Five stations were chosen according to the environmental impacts they have on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Water samples were collected at depths 0, 5, and 10 meters respectively. . . Nutrient analysis [has been preformed on] sea water samples in conjunction with . . .[measurements of] temperature, oxygen concentration, salinity and chlorophyll a. Phytoplankton cells were collected using a net pore size [of] 10µ and have been identified. Sediment samples were collected using a Grab sampler. These samples were used for cyst identification.

The results showed that many harmful species were introduced in the waters of Abu Dhabi and that many of the identified cyst species did not appear in the phytoplankton [assemblage]. Moreover the fish kill stations where blooms occurred indicated that the circulation of water does not exist. The reason is due to the enclosed channel and the introduction of nutirents from the surrounding projects.

In conclusion, a strategic study should be conducted on this phenomenon and the harmful species that have been introduced to the area. It could be due to the [transfer] of ballast water from the tanker [fleets]of oil-producing, industrialized nations to our waters. Another reason could be due to the increase of human activities along the coast. All the above reasons [plus] other [causes] could lead to adverse consequences of this phenomenon.

 

Abu Dhabi