Macrobenthic community structure in the northern Saudi waters of the Gulf, 14 years after the 1991 oil spill

T V Joydas, Mohammad A Qurban, Abdulaziz Al-Suwailem, P K Krishnakumar, Zahid Nazeer, N A Cali
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2012, 64 (2): 325-35
The 1991 Gulf oil spill heavily impacted the coastal areas of the Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf and recent studies have indicated that even 15 years after the incident, macrobenthos had not completely recovered in the sheltered bays in the affected region such as, Manifa Bay. This study investigates the community conditions of macrobenthos in the open waters in one of the impacted areas, Al-Khafji waters, about 14 years after the spill. Diversity measures and community structure analyses indicate a healthy status of polychaete communities. The BOPA index reveals that oil sensitive amphipods were recolonized in the study area. This confirms that the benthic communities of the oil spill impacted area had taken only <14 years to recover in the open waters of the impacted areas. The study also reveals the existence of three distinct polychaete communities along the depth and sediment gradients.

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