Arabian Sea

About the Area

The Arabian Sea has some of the most extreme climatic regimes due to seasonal fluctuations in air and water temperatures. Thus, it harbours excellent examples of ecosystem responses to natural environmental stresses.
A diversity of marine habitats exist here, including coral reefs with over 75 per cent cover in selected areas and sea grass beds that provide important breeding and nursery habitats especially for mollusks. Mangrove areas exist with selected stands reaching 6 meters in height, as do subtidal sandy and mud ecosystems that support rich biological assemblages (> 600 species).

Local Species
Seasonal brown, green, and red algal flora and seasonal kelp communities, including several endemic species, represent important components of this region's biodiversity. Upwelling effects result in highly productive pelagic waters and high plankton productivity along the Oman Coast that support an enormous diversity of small herbivores.

 A wide variety of invertebrates and algae exist, including Sargassopsis zanardinii , a species that is endemic to the Arabian coastline. Characteristic fishes include barracudas (Sphyraena spp.), wrasses (Family, Labridae), and damselfish (Family, Pomacentridae).

Found in the Arabian Sea are Dugong (Dugong dugon), and several species of turtles, including Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Of the baleen whales , recorded have been Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni), Minke whales (B. acutoristrata), Fin whales (B. physalus), Blue whales (B. musculus), and Humpback whales (Megaptera novaengliae).

Toothed whales include Sperm (Physeter macrocephalus), Orca (Orcinus orca), and false killer (Pseudorca crassidens). At least a dozen species of dolphins (Family, Delphinidae) as well as the finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) exist in the Arabian Sea.

Threats
The Arabian Sea is a center for oil shipping. As a result oil spills, anchor damage, sedimentation, and other pollution effects are a real threat. Mining operations, fishing pressures, destructive fish collecting practices (e.g., dynamiting), residential and commercial development, and effluent discharge have resulted in altered species composition in many areas. Recreation and tourism also contribute to eutrophication and reef degradation. War-related activities provide another source of environmental damage.

Resources

Size:
N/A

Habitat type:
Tropical Coral

Geographic Location:
Waters off the Arabian Peninsula, north of the Indian Ocean

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

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