Abstracts Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 166.1994, Frankfurt a.M.

Status of the coral reefs after the Gulf War

A b s t r a c t: Selected sections of coral reefs in Saudi Arabia were monitored over a one year period in order to detect any changes that may have occurred as long-term effects of the Gulf War oil spill. ill June 1992, 10 permanent transect lines were established; three on inshore reefs in Dawhat ad-Dafi and close to Abu Ali, and seven on offshore reefs surrounding the islands of Karan, Kurain and Jana. Six of these transects were revisited in February 1993 and eight in May/June 1993. A band along each transect, 0.5 m wide and 50 m long, was recorded with a S-VHS video camera. All video pictures were then examined by a computer image-analysis system. Maps of each transect were drawn and the live coral cover calculated. A comparison of the results obtained during the subsequent recordings showed that little change in live coral cover had occurred. During all the periods of fieldwork no abnormal numbers of dead corals were found in any part of the reefs. These findings suggest that no short-term or long-term changes can be attributed to the Gulf War events. Although some reefs in Kuwait show signs of stress and coral bleaching, which may partly be related to the effects of the Gulf War, no such signs were observed on the Saudi Arabian reefs.


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