Freshwater algae provide vital snapshot of environment on Yemeni island

6 December 2011

Dr. Mohammed A. Al-Wosabi and his colleague Dr. Abdelfattah Zalat  from Hodiedah University and Sana’a University, have conducted a first-ever study on the distribution of non-marine diatom—freshwater algae—populations in the streams of Socotra Island, Yemen. Diatoms and their population distributions serve as indicators of water conditions and changes that might be taking place therein. The researchers have published this first-ever look at the distribution in the fresh waters of the island located in the Indian Ocean in QScience Connect, a new open-access, peer-reviewed publication from Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals which places emphasis on correctness and validity of results, rather than any subjective opinion of the reviewers.

Diatoms are single-celled organisms that rely on photosynthesis processing of the sun’s rays as an energy source to live and reproduce. They are thus considered ‘producers’ in the food chain, serving as food for other living species in both fresh and salt water. Their overpopulation signals imbalance in the variety of species living in any given water reservoir, thus they are a good measure of both water quality and diversity. Their existence dates back to the time of dinosaurs.

“The present study deals with the appointment and definition of types of benthic diatoms that live in the valleys of the Socotra Island and focuses on the environmental impacts that can be inferred from the presence of these species.” said Dr. Al-Wosabi. “Diatoms have been divided here into six main groups. Each of them is characterized by different environmental conditions which reflect the changes in environmental factors such as salinity, temperature and others.”

This research provides a vital baseline for future research in this scientific field on Socotra, where the results can be compared with future results to determine environmental changes and their causes.

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals’ Editorial Director, Dr Christopher Leonard, commented: “We are immensely proud of this new forum for researchers to publish their results and to ensure their free access on the internet for any interested party. The results from Socotra can now easily be compared with other islands from around the world and will be there for any future analyses of Socotra’s environment. As we take more of interest in the changes we are observing in the natural world, it is essential that this kind of data is easily and freely available to all who want it.”

For the study’s abstract in English and Arabic and free access to full text, visit: https://www.qscience.com/content/journals/10.5339/connect.2011.3

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