Qatar has experienced great change in its infrastructure, continuous upgrading of its major industrial cities, of its network of roads and highways and major construction and development along its coastline in particular the eastern coastline. These activities can all have an impact on the marine life and terrestrial wildlife, vegetation and floristic composition.

One strip of coastline on the north-eastern section of Qatar remains in parts virgin land and the coastal zone is considered a least impacted zone. A baseline survey was commissioned to record all physical/chemical and biological data of the Qatar marine zone.

This survey, representing field data collected between February and April 2010, encompassed a 35km long stretch of coastline and extended 20km offshore and as far inland as 1km, it also included Umm Tais Island and Al Jasasiya. The seabed and the water body were documented by video photography. Fish population was studied by deployment of fish nets. Mangrove forests were studied in detail. The coastline was surveyed covering landform, vegetation and observations on wildlife. The benthic community of corals, seagrass meadows and microalga beds were fully mapped. Seawater and sediment physicochemical parameters and biota were analyzed. Current meters were deployed to study the sea current speed and direction in the study area.

A full record of terrestrial geology, morphology and vegetation, along with coastal and intertidal biota have been documented. An extensive range of physiochemical parameters have been documented and analyzed according to international standards. State of the art mapping techniques have been employed to provide visual records of both physiochemical and biological constituents. This study documents a large number of organisms not previously reported for the Arabian Gulf. These include almost 106 species belonging to 8 phyla, 17 classes, 36 orders and 63 families.

This project, carried out by the Qatar University, Environmental Studies Center, exemplifies a comprehensive, well run and well documented ecological baseline study. This information will enable future monitoring and substantial data on which stakeholders can take prudent action to conserve, preserve or sustain.


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