Abstracts
Krupp, F., Abuzinada, A.H. & Nader, I.A. (eds.), A Marine Wildlife Sanctuary for the Arabian Gulf. Environmental research and conservation following the 1991 Gulf War Oil Spill. NCWCD, Riyadh and Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt a.M.
 

Natural recovery of the intertidal biota within the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary after the 1991 Gulf War oil spill

A b s t r a c t: Quantitative surveys of the intertidal macrobiota were conducted between 1991 and 1994 along Permanent Transect Lines within the oil-impacted area between Ras az-Zaur and Abu Ali, and at unpolluted control sites to the south of the region. Results reveal that while oil was rapidly removed from the lower shore, it became deposited along the top of all shores within the study region. By December 1991, between 50 and 100 % mortality of biota had occurred on the upper shore as a result of oil pollution. During the study period this oil weathered and largely disappeared from rocky shores and reduced in extent on soft-sediment shores. A sequence of weathering and the formation of overlying algal mats was observed on all shores. By 1994, on the lower shore, species diversity was similar to that found on unpolluted shores, and in the upper eulittoral it ranged from 50 to 100 % of that found on control shores. At the top of the shore, with the exception of a sand beach test site, species diversity ranged from normal to 60 % of that found on control shores. Species abundances at lower shore levels also increased during the survey period and reached or exceeded levels found on control shores. At higher shore levels densities remained lower than normal, due in part to slow population increases of species without planktonic larvae. High fluctuation in individual species numbers appears to be due to a lack of balanced community structure, although this rapidly improved during 1994. Removal of tar from beaches in 1992-1993 caused further mortalities, and it is unlikely that further clean-up operations will be effective at this stage.

 
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