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Harmful Algal Blooms in Kuwait

Author(s): F. Al-Yamani; M. Saburova; I. Polikarpov

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Keywords: Rabian Gulf; Red Tide; Toxic Algae; Phytoplankton; Phytobenthos; Marine Mortality

Abstract: Microalgal blooms occur in Kuwait’s waters year round. Seasonal non-harmful blooms are normal phenomena in Kuwait’s waters and in the Gulf region. Microalgal blooms can cause discoloration of the water (generally known as red tides), some of which can have harmful effects causing mass mortalities in fish, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. The ecology and taxonomy of phytoplankton in Kuwait’s waters have been studied during the past few decades; however, only very limited detailed taxonomical studies have been done on marine phytoplankton as a whole as well as on potentially harmful species. In addition to the phytoplankton communities, benthic microalgae are important primary producers and an important component of the intertidal zone in Kuwait’s marine environment. Potentially toxic microalgae were observed within the intertidal community of Kuwait. Kuwait’s waters and intertidal flats. Among them, 30 taxa are potentially toxic to humans and other higher animals, 24 taxa are potentially harmful to fish and invertebrates. Most of the microalgal blooms in Kuwait’s marine environment are harmless, and the potentially toxic species were recorded in low densities in Kuwait’s waters. However, the presence of significant number of potentially harmful species in the phytoplankton composition of Kuwait’s waters, even in low concentrations, can be regarded as significant findings with the potential of causing harmful incidents in the future. Sporadic high densities and species richness of the toxic phytoplankton species require more intensive and comprehensive as well as long-term studies of Kuwait’s marine environment.


Year: 2010

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