Anthropogenic related variations in the epibiotic biodiversity and age structure of the “Pearl Oyster” Pinctada radiata within the eulittoral zone of Qatar
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Abstract Oyster aggregations provide critical habitat that contain diverse communities, with epibiota and oysters sensitive to environmental disturbance. The monitoring of oysters and associated organisms has become an important tool in gauging change within the marine environment. The research aimed to investigate the population structure of the Pinctada radiata and its epibiota in relation to anthropogenic disturbance within the eulittoral zone of Qatar. Oysters were recorded at six sites along the east coast but were absent from the west and southeast. The absence of oysters in the west was attributed to high salinity and temperature combined with the low flush hydrodynamic regimen of the region. The southeast sites absent of oysters were a result of unsuitable settlement substrate. In sites where P. radiata was recorded, significant inter-site differences existed between epibionts. These differences became significant when epibiota was divided into vagile and sessile species. Sites situated in close proximity to coastal land reclamation activities showed a significantly lower number of vagile taxa. It would appear that sedimentation from coastal development is having a significant effect on epibiont species associated with P. radiata.
- Marine Science Cluster [35 items ]