The Khor Al-Adaid “Inland sea” in Qatar is a unique desert lagoon, located in the South east of Qatar and is characterized by a distinct salinity gradient (ca. 4% halite salt to saturated conditions). In the framework of the QNRF funded NPRP project, researchers from Qatar, Germany and Austria have succeeded to isolate and cultivate a new unicellular eukaryote (protist) from Qatar's unique Inland Sea (Khor Al-Adaid). Initial genetic marker analyses pointed to the novelty of this organisms and morphological characterization confirmed that this isolated organism is not yet known and described from any other place in the world. Even though only 1/50th of a mm in length, this organism may hold secrets worth unlocking: the Qatar's Inland Sea is characterized by extremely high salt concentrations. With the discovery of this new organism from the Inland Sea the team of researchers hold in their hands a valuable unique treasure from Qatar's natural heritage. Future efforts will be to exploit this treasure for its genomic and biotechnological potential. The new species belongs to the genus Euplotes, and is coined the name Euplotes qatarensis nov. spec.


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