We printed 500 copies of the book. The 184 pages book is the first phytoplankton guide to Oman’s coastal waters and is the result of an extensive six-year scientific study. Be in no doubt, the guide is of significant international importance, a publication we can all be deeply proud of,” said Dr Nadiya al Saady, executive director OAPGRC. The main aim of the book is to assist professionals as well as students identify the species and genus levels of tropical and sub-tropical species commonly found in Oman’s coastal waters.
Authored by leading Omani marine scientist, Dr Khalid al Hashmi, the book contains photographs with descriptions of 137 phytoplankton species - 64 diatoms, 71 dinoflagellates, one silicoflagellate and one cyanobacterium. It also provides readers with details of sampling methods and preservation techniques along with a glossary of terms used in the phytoplankton studies. Planktons are microscopic marine plants that float in the upper part of the ocean where sunlight penetrates the water.
They are the foundation of the aquatic food web, feeding everything from microscopic, animal like zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates to multi-ton whales. It is responsible for half of the world’s photosynthesis and also removes approximately 100mn tonnes of carbon dioxide from the earth on a daily basis.
“Plankton populations are important indicators that help scientists monitor changes in our oceans. Biologists have noted that as oceans get warmer, plankton distribution decreases and animals shift their migration patterns to follow sources of food. “Fish populations that once thrived in certain areas move to where planktons migrate which in turn impacts the global fishing and food industry,” said Dr Nadiya.