Bleaching in the Southern Arabian Gulf

Monika Gurnee Monika.Gurnee at
Mon Sep 23 16:57:18 EDT 2002

2002 Coral Bleaching Event in the Southern Arabian Gulf (United Arab

A research team consisting of scientists from the Dubai
Municipality/National Coral Reef Institute (Nova Southeastern University,
Fort Lauderdale, USA)/UAE Environmental Research and Wildlife Development
Agency/Karl-Franzens- University Graz/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam found
significant bleaching on coral reefs in the Arabian Gulf at the nearshore
site of Jebel Ali (Dubai, between Jebel Ali port and Ras Hasyan) and the
offshore island Sir Abu Nuair.

In Jebel Ali all corals were bleached white, with only few individuals
(among them Acropora downingi recruits) partially bleached or unbleached.
According to reports by DM and ERWDA, the bleaching started during the last
week of August when sea surface temperatures reached up to 37 degrees near
Dubai. In Sir Abu Nuair, the bleaching was more patchy and heaviest among
massive corals, less among Acropora spp. No significant mortality was found
yet, and recovery is still possible. Over 90% of bleached corals still had
tissues and had not yet incurred even partial mortality. At the same time,
no bleaching was observed on reefs at the same latitude in the Arabian Sea
on Oman's Musandam Peninsula near Ras Lima and Geziret Lima.

The team was led by Mohammed Abdelrahman Hassan Deshgooni of Dubai
Municipality, Nasser Shadoor of ERWDA, and Bernhard Riegl of the National
Coral Reef Institute of Nova Southeastern University. For further inquiries,
please contact Bernhard Riegl at rieglb at

Richard E. Dodge, Ph.D.
Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center
8000 N. Ocean Drive
Dania, FL 33004


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