Biodiversity and distribution patterns of coral reef ecosystems in ROPME Sea Area (Inner part: Persian Gulf -Iranian waters)

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Owfi F
Rabbaniha M
Al -Obeid Mehana S
Mahichi F


The Persian Gulf is northern part of the ROPME Sea Area (RSA), and is semi-enclosed shallow sea which located in subtropical climate. Measuring is 1000km in length, varying in width 60-340km, and average depth is about 35m and maximum depth is 105m. This research was carried out during 2005-2010 for reviewing the corals status and determination of coral reef habitats distribution in the Persian Gulf. Coral reef sites and patches were determined by field surveys and direct observations. Also, the violet-blue bands of Land Sat satellite images were used for seaward extent of coral reefs. Sampling sites covered by SCUBA, Manta Tow technique and Transect survey base on Reef Check and GCRMN standard method. Coral reefs habitats in Iranian coastal areas are found in two types and structures which observed around seventeen islands fringing coral reefs and two limited patches of coral reefs around Nayband Bay. Widest coral reef cover observed around Khark, Kharko and Larak Islands. Due to extremes of water temperature and salinity that are close to the physiological tolerance limits ,coral reefs diversity and coral species composition in this area is similar and close to Indo-Pacific eco-region coral communities. In comparison, species richness of hard corals in the Gulf of Oman with about 70 species is more than the entire Persian Gulf. Totally, 36 species belonging to 9 family and 20 genera of hard coral has been reported and documented. Among identified coral species, Porites and Acropora were the dominant and Faviidae family was the most diverse.

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