Objectives: To establish a forum to discuss issues and share information related to research on Toxins in Desert Environments (TIDE network). Methods: We will solicit researchers, students, educators, and dignitaries who have published and studied desert toxins or have expressed an interest in toxins and deserts, to join a network to encourage research and an understanding of toxins in desert environments. We will target a variety of disciplines, including microbiology, zoology, botany, chemistry, anthropology, sociology, and toxicology. We will establish an interactive website to facilitate communication and hold a yearly workshop and conference in Qatar to build networking capacity and promote the network. The conference will be a three-day event including a keynote speaker and a guided field trip. Results: Topics will include information, and showcase current research and future needs for education and research on a variety of toxins as it relates to plants, animals, and people in desert environments. Human and ecosystem health will be an important focus of this group and attempts at protection and remediation will be discussed. This network will encourage and promote researchers interested in desert environments and natural and man-made toxins. Participants will liaise with other researchers and educators and foster links to maximize resources and disseminate information. Conclusions: The goal will be to cross disciplines and broaden discussions to develop a network of scientists, create international interest in the region and involve local scientists, students, and dignitaries. The desire is to establish Qatar as a center for research concerning a wide range of natural and anthropogenic toxins found in desert environments. The TIDE network will promote research, conservation and public outreach, and be a center to support scientists, students and media. The network will benefit the State of Qatar locally, but it will also draw international attention to the facilities and opportunities present, while protecting the citizens of Qatar from the potential adverse effects of toxins.


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  • Received: 10 May 2012
  • Accepted: 10 May 2012
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