Harmful algal bloom of the Arabian Gulf
Harmful algal bloom of the Arabian Gulf
Aims and objectives 4
General Objective 4
Specific objectives 4
Literature Review 4
Causes of toxins produced by HABs 4
Effects of HABs in the Arabian Gulf 5
Climatic conditions and HABs 6
Tools and techniques employed by researchers to deal with the challenge of HABs in the Arabian Gulf 7
Research questions 8
Area of study 8
Research procedure 8
Data Interpretation and Analysis Design 9
Works Cited 12
Harmful algal bloom occurs where ocean water appears oddly red instead of the normal blue color. This is caused by small, single celled organisms known as microalgae or phytoplankton that grow in oceans and fresh water. When they grow at a high rate, they can reach great numbers and result in algal bloom. Algal blooms are at times referred to as red tides. However, not all of them turn water red or discolor it. In some cases, they may be green, golden, or brown and this depends on algal species that causes the bloom. They cause injury as they produce toxins or disrupt aquatic webs of food. They are not new among most regions across the world. However, their attention has been on the increase due to the rise in number of residents along the coastal regions (Moore 540). Their investigations by various researchers are numerous. In earlier times, harmful algal blooms (HABs) were mainly a focus fundamentally to shellfish growers and taxonomists. This has, however, changed as the subject has gained interest from researchers in various fields such as molecular biologists, remote sensing specialists, and oceanographers. Efforts to mitigate the effects of HABs from these specialists are combined in order to come up with the best predictable solution. From the increased focus, a number of techniques and tools are being created to assist in detecting HAB species, as well as, their toxins. These tools and techniques assist in providing early warning of harmful situations in the seas. The subject is of significant concern due to threats associated with HABs. For instance, HABs threaten human health, they have regional economic effects, and they lead to mass mortality of fish and also loss of quality of the environment (Rabalais 102). In additional, HABs cause deaths of marine mammals, degrade the quality of water, and have significant effects of non-commercial species.
HABs formation takes place when algae, in reaction to favorable situations or conditions of the environment, reproduce to create intense cells concentrations also known as blooms. In many cases, toxins are usually present in areas of low concentrations, but have little or no impact on human health or the environment in general. In general, toxicity depends on the presence of HABs in areas of high cell concentrations. In the last three decades, toxic or harmful algal events have taken place with rising geographical dispersion and regularity. The factors that contribute to this problem may be indirectly or directly anthropogenic through the non-indigenous species introduction through ballast transport of water, regional and local environmental change, which is brought about by contaminant or eutrophication loading, as well as, the rise in greenhouse gases (Van-Dolah, 200).
The unusual production of blooms result in mass mortality of aquatic lives by exhausting the levels of oxygen in the environment. Oxygen depletion happens when carbon monoxide is released by phytoplankton and intake dissolves oxygen during times of bloom. Some blooms attain a high degree of biomass than others. When the biomass decomposes and decays at the time the bloom dies off, there occurs consumption of oxygen, resulting in widespread deaths of both animals and plants in the affected regions. The high biomass blooms are at times associated with inputs due to excessive pollution. From a regional approach, this king of mass death of aquatic organisms has been observed and recorded in the Oman Gulf twice. The first was recorded in September, 1988 at Al-Ghubrah while the other aws reecorded in September, 2000 at Barka (Anderson, 207).
The rigorous anthropogenic activities covered under climatic changes may result in numerous negative consequences in the environment one being the change of populations of phytoplankton that may result in harmful algal bloom. During the early 2009 and throughout the same year, there occurred numerous events of algal bloom in the Arabian Gulf. The most severy affected region was the UAE coastline.
Aims and objectives
1. To investigate the widespread of harmful algal blooms in the Arabian Gulf
1. To determine the causes of HABs in the Arabian Gulf
2. To investigate the harmful consequences of HABs in the Arabian Gulf
3. To investigate the tools and techniques employed by researchers to deal with the challenge of HABs in the Arabian Gulf
Causes of toxins produced by HABs
Both toxic and non-toxic red tides have occurred since a long time ago. However, there has been a global rise in the number of occurrence of red tides in recent years. Since 1974, there have been conferences held to address HAB concerns. Countries such as Mexico, England, Spain, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Guatemala, and Argentina have experienced red tides. HABs are caused by the drastic production of phytoplankton that are present in seawater. However, HABs are said to occur when these reach a certain critical number. In some regions in Iran, high concentrations of millions of microorganisms occurred (Belkin 200). Another region faced the development of HAB is the Arabian Gulf in 2009 and this threatened distinct areas on the coastline of UAE, Qeshm, Fujairah, and Diba. Algae species have the ability to expand over wide geographical range on spatial scale of many kilometers. Increased scientific exploration of waters has been proven to cause red tides. In addition, using sea waters for shellfish can increase the existing potential of toxicity.
Effects of HABs in the Arabian Gulf
HABs have significant effects that impact negatively on the environment. These effects include threatening the human life, regional economic effects, causing mass mortality of fish, loss of quality of the environment, deaths of marine mammals, degradation of quality of water, and effects of non-commercial species. The Arabian Gulf region marine and coastal environment is under an increasing threat because of increased HABs. The main issues that face marine and coastal environments are pollution that result from sources such as industrial and transport emissions, oil exploration (Berner 56). The Arabian Gulf coasts have been on expansion implying that the population within these regions has also increased. In fact, compared to other regions across the world, UAE is leading in coastline development. However, the region is faced with the challenge of HABs, just like it is the issue with other coastal regions across the world. This has a significant implication on the industry. For instance, the constant decrease of stocks of fish may cause insufficiency of food in the regional markets as fish are a major source of proteins and also a major source of income (Carayannis 112). This could affect the health of individuals. A constant decrease in fish stocks was witnessed in 2009 during the events in the region.
The same trend is represented in the tourism industry which reflects both a victim and a contributor of HABs in water. Tourism leads to degradation of the environment through extensive expansion, therefore, adding pressure on the marine environment. It is not only in Dubai where the effects of tourism have been observed. Rather, this is common in most coastal regions across the world. It leads to increase in discharge of waste into the sea, increased pressure on endangered species, loss of natural habitats, and soil erosion (Aljenaid et al., 20).
In the early 2009, beaches, hotels, and diving centers were hit by HABs along the UAE cost on the east, leading to considerable losses in revenue. There was suffocation of large numbers of fish due to the lack of oxygen. All marine organisms were devastated by algae. Additionally water contaminated with algae could be seen at the Atlantis hotel located at The Palm Jumeirah. The HABs caused significant challenges to the hotels, as well as, people living within the region. This led to closure of two beaches within the region by Municipality, which meant significant loss in revenues (Arnold 156).
Climatic conditions and HABs
Recent models and studies, field observations, and laboratory studies reveal that the combination of rising temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, anthropogenic nutrient loading, and enhanced vertical stratification promote the dominance of cyanobacterial in a broad range of aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria contain effective carbon dioxide, as well as, mechanisms of taking up nutrients that are well protected from UV radiation and light. They are greatly adaptable, letting them to take advantage of alterations in the conditions of the environment in marine environments. The development of HABs has critical effects for human irrigation and drinking water supplies, recreational resources, and fisheries (Riegl 120). This has an impact that necessitates water management. Besides nutrient reduction, authorities in charge of combating HABs have to accommodate the physical-chemical and hydrological impacts of climate change in their water management approaches. However, they have to take into consideration of the climate in the region and changes that are driven by anthropogenic occurrences. Therefore, there is a need for fine tuning of these strategies of management that need to be system-specific (Govorushko 110). A chief overall control can be implemented to minimize the extent and rate of global warming through curbing gas emissions in green houses. Without taking this significant procedure, it is possible that future warming trends and the physical-chemical alterations that result from these in a wide range of marine ecosystems will result into increase of the species that have threatened human health, aquatic life, and the overall quality of the environment.
Tools and techniques employed by researchers to deal with the challenge of HABs in the Arabian Gulf
Because of the increased attention, various techniques and tools are being established and developed in order to detect species of HAB, as well as, their toxins at low concentrations. Presently, scientists and researchers in UAE are establishing models and techniques of monitoring that put emphasis on small organisms from autonomous underwater vehicles, satellites, and buoys (Govorushko 65). Molecular probes and other new technologies are linked to medical science. These models and techniques assist in providing identification of species especially when the cells of HAB might be mistaken with other cells that are non-toxic in nature. In addition, there are new toxin quantification and identification techniques that are being developed in order to assist in providing early warning of dangerous or harmful conditions in the seas.
Generally, the objective of this study is to carry out a pilot study that may establish a foundation for a broader scale of the widespread of harmful algal blooms in the Arabian Gulf. Specifically, the research aims at determining the causes of HABs in the Arabian Gulf. In addition, the study focuses on investigating the harmful consequences of HABs in the Arabian Gulf. The research also seeks to investigate the tools and techniques employed by researchers to deal with the challenge of HABs in the Arabian Gulf. Therefore, this requires a study methodology that can aid in attaining the objectives of this research. In order to perform an in-depth research on HABs in the Arabian Gulf, the researcher will utilize several strategies and approaches essential in meeting the objectives stated. The study in Arab stands as a reflection of other countries that have been faced with the same challenge. This chapter, thus, will examine the study methods to be used in general, research procedure, as well as, the methods of analysis to be used. The research methodology is aimed at answering the following research questions.
1. What are the causes of HABs in the Arabian Gulf?
2. What are the harmful consequences of HABs in the Arabian Gulf?
3. What are the tools and techniques employed by researchers to deal with the challenge of HABs in the Arabian Gulf?
Area of study
The research will focus on two areas that have been affected by red tides. The areas are Tarut Bay and Manifa. The reason why the areas were chosen by the researcher is because they have been adversely affected by HABs.
The researcher will carry out a research on the two regions in order to gather data that can be used to meet the study objectives. Basically, the researcher will rely on both primary and secondary data to answer the research questions. The research will be conducted between 6th August and 10th October in Tarut Bay and Manifa at both surface and bottom.
Data Interpretation and Analysis Design
Referring to the objectives and research questions of this research, the researcher will use descriptive analysis and interpretation to describe the findings of the study. In most circumstances, interpretation in research involves the construction of a rational scientific argument that describes the research findings. According to Marsh (108), systematic and empirical explanations are neither individual opinion nor complete truth. They are theories, inferences, hypotheses, or suggestions about what the information means based on individual scientific knowledge and expertise. Researchers and scientists apply experience and logic to draw credible explanations for certain research information. Although researchers and scientists may make mistakes during the research process, many of them draw interpretations that are logical and supported by the data.
Station Station ID Date PP
(µg C/L/hr) Chla
(µg atom/L) No2
(µg atom/L) Po4
(µg atom/L) Si
TARUT BAY SURFACE 06-Aug-2012 30.91 0.69 0.34 0.08 0.31 0.41
TARUT BAY BOTTOM 06-Aug-2012 35.13 0.52 0.16 0.09 0.41 0.26
TARUT BAY SURFACE 06-Aug-2012 22.09 0.62 0.18 0.09 0.32 0.37
TARUT BAY BOTTOM 06-Aug-2012 22.31 0.66 0.10 0.08 0.21 0.22
MANIFA SURFACE 10-Oct-2012 8.33 0.29 0.26 0.10 0.25 3.18
MANIFA BOTTOM 10-Oct-2012 6.70 0.38 0.39 0.08 0.18 2.95
MANIFA SURFACE 10-Oct-2012 3.51 0.39 0.26 0.07 0.07 4.06
MANIFA BOTTOM 10-Oct-2012 2.74 0.56 0.13 0.05 0.16 3.32
From the study, it was recorded that the highest PP for the surface of Tarut Bay was at 30.9 while the highest level at the bottom was at 35.13. The highest Chla at the surface was at 0.69 while the highest at the bottom was at 0.66. The highest NO3 at the surface was at 0.34 while at the bottom was at 0.18. The highest NO2 was at the surface was at 0.09 and the same figure for the bottom. Highest PO4 at the surface was 0.32 while at the bottom was at 0.41. The highest Si at the surface was at 0.41 while at the bottom was at 0.26.
From the study, it was recorded that the highest PP for the surface of Manifa was at 8.33 while the highest level at the bottom was at 6.70. The highest Chla at the surface was at 0.39 while the highest at the bottom was at 0.56. The highest NO3 at the surface was at 0.26 while at the bottom was at 0.39. The highest NO2 was at the surface was at 0.10 and for the bottom was 0.07. Highest PO4 at the surface was 0.25 while at the bottom was at 0.18. The highest Si at the surface was at 4.06 while at the bottom was at 3.32.
The study reveals that time and geographical factors are of great significance. This explains the differences presented in the two regions of study. The main causes of HABs in the Arabian Gulf have been identified as rising temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, anthropogenic nutrient loading, and enhanced vertical stratification. The harmful effects of HABs include HABs threaten human health, they have regional economic effects, they lead to mass mortality of fish and also loss of quality of the environment. In additional, HABs cause deaths of marine mammals, degrade the quality of water, and have significant effects of non-commercial species. Modern models are being used to help in dealing with HABs in areas they occur.
The increase in occurrence of HABs is probably as a consequence of a combination of two main components. These are anthropogenic activities and natural factors. The activities linked with the massive construction advancements and the present of microbial species in water have intensified the intensity, toxicity, and amount of red tides. HABs have resulted in significant economic effects such as expenses of evaluation policies and programs, reduction in sales from seafood, closure of harvestable fish stocks, mass mortalities of marine lives, negative implications for marine businesses, as well as, costs on medical treatment of people exposed to HABs.
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