Benthic surveys of the historic pearl oyster beds of Qatar reveal a dramatic ecological change
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The study aimed to confirm the presence of historic oyster banks of Qatar and code the biotopes present. The research also collated historical records and scientific publications to create a timeline of fishery activity. The oyster banks where once an extremely productive economic resource however, intense overfishing, extreme environmental conditions and anthropogenic impacts caused a fishery collapse. The timeline highlighted the vulnerability of ecosystem engineering bivalves if overexploited. The current status of the oyster banks meant only one site could be described as oyster dominant. This was unexpected as the sites were located in areas which once supported a highly productive oyster fishery. The research revealed the devastating effect that anthropogenic impacts can have on a relatively robust marine habitat like an oyster bed and it is hoped these findings will act as a driver to investigate and map other vulnerable habitats within the region before they too become compromised.
- Marine Science Cluster [20 items ]