Coastal and Shelf Ecosystems of Oman

     Our research is aimed at advanced understanding of mesoscale, seasonal and climate driven variabilityof coastal and shelf ecosystems of Oman. Basic approach involves 4 parallel lines of activity: retrospective data analysis, field sampling, remote sensing, and modeling. In retrospective analysis, the data from onboard measurements we assembled, have incorporated  over 90 expeditions carried out by USA, UK, Germany, Japan and other countries in the western Arabian Sea, from 1950 to 2012:

Western Arabian Sea map

   The basic physical and chemical characteristics selected for the analysis were represented by wind speed, atmospheric temperature, sea temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, water acidity (pH), the concentration of nutrients, chlorophyll-a, phytoplankton, mesozooplankton, and landings of small and large pelagic fish species:

Decadal profiles

     Our coastal time series (along with remote sensing and modeling) have enabled us the seasonal and mesoscale variability to be studied.Coastal currents, along with the currents of the Arabian Sea interior generates a dense field of mesoscale eddies.We found that spatial-temporal characteristics of theseeddies are valuable tools in understanding seasonal and interannual fluctuations of sardine landings (contributing ~ 50% to the fishery in the region).

dynamical topography

    An example of dynamical topography and distribution of chlorophyll-a concentration.

In extending shelf research, we have launched sea gliders. Along with coastal time series, modeling and remote sensing, gliders allow us to monitor the development of algal blooms and shelf hypoxia in the region.

Prof. Sergey Piontkovski
Principal Investigator
Sultan Qaboos University

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