Ecological status of macrobenthic communities in the Saudi waters of the western Arabian Gulf

Thadickal V. Joydas*, Mohammad A. Qurban, Angel Borja, Seerangan Manokaran, Karuppasamy P. Manikandan, Lotfi Jilani Rabaoui, Joxe Mikel Garmendia, T. T.M. Asharaf, Korhan Ayranci, Ahsan Mushir Shemsi, Shoeb Mohammed, Abdullajid U. Basali, Premlal Panickan, Zahid Nazeer, P. S. Lyla, Syed Ajmal Khan, Periyadan K. Krishnakumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In view of the unique oceanographic conditions combined with human pressure, we assessed the ecological status of macrobenthos from the entire Saudi waters (including open waters and inner bays) of the Gulf in 2013. A total of 328 macrobenthic species (228 polychaete species, 47 crustacean species, 46 mollusc species, and seven species belonging to other taxa) was recorded from the study area. Species richness, species diversity, and density had an overall average ±SE of 34 ± 2.0, 4.02 ± 0.1 and 1,373 ± 160 ind. m−2, respectively. As per the results of AZTI's Marine Biotic Index (AMBI), in open waters, 10% of stations belonged to undisturbed and the remaining 90% belonged to slightly disturbed categories, while in sheltered inner bays, 95% of the stations belonged to slightly disturbed and the remaining 5% belonged to moderately disturbed categories. According to Multivariate AMBI (M-AMBI), 4% of the stations showed high status, 74% good status, 23% moderate status and 1% poor status in open waters. In inner bays, 2% of the stations showed high status, 73% good status, 14% moderate status and 4% poor status. The open waters, where extensive industrial activities take place, are not under major stress, which might be due to the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures during the construction and operation of the offshore facilities and the natural dispersal of potential pollutants. The stressed conditions on benthos in inner bays might be due to coastal discharges besides extreme oceanographic conditions, including the poor water flushing rates, which increase the exposure to pollutants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102751
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • AMBI
  • Benthic community health
  • M-AMBI
  • Quality assessment
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sensitive species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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