The mobile Barchan dunes in Qatar are restricted to the southeastern region of the country. They are currently a disappearing natural habitat, due to the northwesterly Al Shamal winds which are scouring the landscape and spreading desertification as they pass. The study's aim was to understand the ecology of an active dune, in terms of resident species and their populations. Traps were placed along three dunes and animals were collected over a period of three months. Species captured included the skink (Sincus mitranus), a number of Tenebrionidae beetles, in addition to geckos, scorpions, and spiders. The skinks were PIT tagged in order to estimate population size, along with life history data. Recapture data showed that there has been no migration between dunes, indicating that each dune represents it's own self-contained ecosystem. We are currently sequencing skink DNA to determine familial relationships between skink populations on individual dunes. It has been observed that skinks exhibit colonial behaviour in individual dunes. This is one of the initial efforts to determine skink populations on mobile dunes, and forms a baseline to future studies on the ecology of these unique ecosystems.


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