Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 2473–2483 | Cite as

Marine invertebrates colonizing a causeway in the Manifa offshore oilfield, Saudi Arabia

  • Diego Lozano-CortésEmail author
  • Thadickal V. Joydas
  • Khaled Abdulkader
  • Periyadan K. Krishnakumar
  • Mohammad A. Qurban
Short Communication


The Manifa oilfield development involved the construction of a causeway to support 25 offshore drill site islands across the Manifa-Tanajib Bay System. As part of the environmental impact assessment of this project, a post-construction monitoring was performed between 2013 and 2015 to evaluate the artificial structure’s effects on local marine communities. Benthic communities (fouling and sediment-dwelling organisms) were sampled two to three times per year at 10 to 16 stations along the causeway and islands. Seventeen epifaunal taxa were recorded from the fouling samples with mollusks (33%) and crustaceans (30%) dominating the community while 99 species were recorded from the sediment samples with polychaetes (69%) as the dominant taxon. As the causeway represents a no-entry area due to oil industry activities, the number of species utilizing it as a habitat will probably develop without significant disturbance in the coming years, highlighting its role as an artificial reef-like structure in the Saudi Arabian waters.


Artificial habitats Biodiversity Colonization Fouling 



The authors acknowledge permission of Saudi Aramco (Public Relations Department) to publish this paper and the copyright material contained herein (Approval number 17-3253). We thank the Research Institute, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (Saudi Arabia) for providing the laboratories and equipment for this research.

Funding information

We are grateful to Saudi Aramco for funding this study and to its Environmental Protection Department for the technical support during the project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

P.K.K., T.V.J., and M.A.Q work have been funded in part by Saudi Aramco. The funding from Saudi Aramco contributed to the environmental impact assessment and monitoring program of this project done by the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. DLC and KA are employees of Saudi Aramco.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.

Data availability statement

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.


  1. Abdulkader K, Loughland Ra, Qurban MA (eds) Ecosystems of the Western Arabian Gulf: 40 years of marine research. A book for managers, planners and researchers. Environmental protection department, Saudi Aramco– In PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Ajemian MJ, Wetz JJ, Shipley-Lozano B, Stunz GW (2015) Rapid assessment of fish communities on submerged oil and gas platform reefs using remotely operated vehicles. Fish Res 167:143–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Jamali F, Bishop J, Osment J, Jones D, LeVay L (2005) A review of the impacts of aquaculture and artificial waterways upon coastal ecosystems in the Gulf (Arabian/Persian) including a case study demonstrating how future management may resolve these impacts. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag 8:81–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnard JL, Drummond MM (1982) Gammaridean amphipoda of Australia, part V: superfamily Haustorididea. In: Smithsonian contribution to zoology, pp 1–148Google Scholar
  5. Bram J, Page H, Dugan J (2005) Spatial and temporal variability in early successional patterns of an invertebrate assemblage at an offshore oil platform. MMS OCS Study 2005–003. Coastal Research Center, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California. MMS Cooperative Agreement Number 14-35-0001-30761. 39 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Burt J, Bartholomew A (2019) Towards more sustainable coastal development in the Arabian Gulf: opportunities for ecological engineering in an urbanized seascape. Mar Pollut Bull 142:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burt J, Bartholomew A, Bauman A, Saif A, Sale PF (2009) Coral recruitment and early benthic community development on several materials used in the construction of artificial reefs and breakwaters. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 373:72–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burt J, Bartholomew A, Sale PF (2011) Benthic development on large-scale engineered reefs: a comparison of communities among breakwaters of different age and natural reefs. Ecol Eng 37:191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burt J, Bartholomew A, Feary D (2012) Man-made structures as artificial reefs in the Gulf. In: Riegl BP (ed) Coral reefs of the Gulf: adaptation to climatic extremes. Springer Science+Business Media B. V, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  10. Claisse JT, Pondella DJ, Love M, Zahn LA, Williams CM, Williams JP, Bull AS (2014) Oil platforms off California are among the most productive marine fish habitats globally. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:15462–15467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark AM, Rowe FWE (1971) Monograph of shallow water indo-West Pacific echinoderms. In: British museum (natural history), vol 238Google Scholar
  12. Coles SL, McCain JC (1990) Environmental factors affecting benthic infauna communities of the western Arabian Gulf. Mar Environ Res 29:289–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Connell SD, Glasby TM (2001) Urban structures as marine habitats: an experimental comparison of the composition and abundance of subtidal epibiota among pilings, pontoons and rock reefs. Mar Environ Res 52:115–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Day JH (1967) A monograph on the polychaete of southern Africa, part I (Errantia) & part II (Sedentaria). In: Trustees of the British museum. Natural History, London 678 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Fauchald K (1977) The polychaetes worms, definitions and keys to the orders, families and genera. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series 28, 188 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Feary D, Burt J, Bartholomew A (2011) Artificial marine habitats in the Arabian Gulf: review of current use, benefits and management implications. Ocean Coastal Manag 54:742–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fechhelm RG, Martin LR, Gallaway BJ, Wilson WJ, Griffiths WB (1999) Prudhoe Bay causeways and the summer coastal movements of Arctic cisco and least cisco. Arctic 52:139–151Google Scholar
  18. Gallaway BJ, Lewbel GS (1982) The ecology of petroleum platforms in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico: a community profile. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington. D.C. FWS/OBS-82/27. Bureau of Land Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Regional Office, pen-File Report 82–03. 92 pp.Google Scholar
  19. Hansen B (2005) Artificial islands reshape Dubai coast. Civil Eng 75:12–13Google Scholar
  20. Holdich DM, Jones JA (1983) Tanaids: keys and notes for the identification of the species. 98 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Holthuis LB (1980) FAO species catalogue Vol. I: shrimps and prawns of the world. An annotated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries, vol 284Google Scholar
  22. Jackson J (1977) Competition on marine hard substrata: the adaptive significance of solitary and colonial strategies. Am Nat 111:743–767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jones DA (1986) A field guide to the sea shores of Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf, vol 192. Blanford press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones DA, Nithyanandan M (2013) Recruitment of marine biota onto hard and soft artificially created subtidal habitats in Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City, Kuwait. Mar Pollut Bull 72:351–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Joydas TV, Krishnakumar PK, Qurban MA, Al-Suwailem A, Al-Abulkader K (2011) Status of macrobenthic community of Manifa-Tanajib Bay System of Saudi Arabia based on one-off sampling event. Mar Pollut Bull 62:1249–1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Joydas TV, Qurban MA, Al-Suwailem A, Krishnakumar PK, Nazeer Z, Cali NA (2012) Macrobenthic community structure in the northern Saudi waters of the Gulf, fourteen years after the 1991 oil spill. Mar Pollut Bull 64:325–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Joydas TV, Qurban MA, Manikandan KP, Ashraf TTM, Ali SM, Al-Abdulkader K, Qasem A, Krishnakumar PK (2015) Status of macrobenthic communities in the hypersaline waters of the Gulf of Salwa, Arabian Gulf. J Sea Res 99:34–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lincoln RJ (1979) British marine amphipoda: Gammaridea. British museum (natural history). 658 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Lozano-Cortés DF, Zapata FA (2014) Invertebrate colonization on artificial substrates in a coral reef at Gorgona Island, Colombian Pacific Ocean. Rev Biol Trop 62:161–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lozano-Cortés DF, Londoño-Cruz E, Izquierdo V, Arias F, Barona M, Zambrano V (2012) Checklist of benthonic marine invertebrates from Malaga Bay (Isla Palma and Los Negritos), Colombian Pacific. Check List 8:703–708 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Macreadie PI, Fowler AM, Booth DJ (2011) Rigs-to-reefs: will the deep sea benefit from artificial habitat? Front Ecol Environ 9:411–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCain JC (1993) Illustrated keys to the flora and fauna of the Arabian Gulf. Arabian American oil company, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, p 526Google Scholar
  33. Naylor E (1972) British marine isopods. The Linnean society of London. Academic press London and New York, 86 pp.Google Scholar
  34. Pickering H, Whitmarsh D (1997) Artificial reefs and fisheries exploitation: a review of the ‘attraction versus production’ debate, the influence of design and its significance for policy. Fish Res 31:39e59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Poutiers JM (1998a) Bivalves. In: Carpenter KE, Niem VH (eds) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific Vol. I-seaweeds, corals, Bivalves, Gastropods, Rome, FAO 123-362 ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Poutiers JM (1998b) Gastropods. In: Carpenter KE, Niem VH (eds) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific Vol. I: seaweeds, corals, bivalves, gastropods. FAO, Rome, pp 363–648Google Scholar
  37. Price ARG, Chiffings TW, Atkinson MJ, Wrathall TJ (1987) Apraisal of resources in the Saudi Arabian Gulf. In: Magoon OT, Converse H, Miner D, Tobin LT, Clark D, Domurat G (eds) Proceedings of the 5th symposium on coastal and ocean management, vol 1. American Society of Coastal Engineers, New York, pp 1031–1045Google Scholar
  38. Rabaoui L, Lin YJ, Qurban MA, Maneja RH, Franco J, Joydas TV, Panickan P, Al-Abdulkader K, Roa-Ureta RH (2015) Patchwork of oil and gas facilities in Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf has the potential to enhance local fisheries production. ICES J Mar Sci 72:2398–2408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reimer JD, Yang SY, White KN, Asami R, Fujita K, Hongo C, Ito S, Kawamura I, Maeda I, Mizuyama M, Obuchi M, Sakamaki T, Tachihara K, Tamura M, Tanahara A, Yamaguchi A, Jenke-Kodama H (2015) Effects of causeway construction on environment and biota of subtropical tidal flats in Okinawa, Japan. Mar Pollut Bull 94:153–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ruffo S (1982) Amphipoda of the Mediterranean, part 1: Gammaridea (Acanthonotozomatidae to Gammaridae), memories de institute Oceanographique, Monaco, 1–360 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Ruffo S (1989) Amphipoda of the Mediterranean, part 2: Gammaridea (Haustoriidae to Lysianassidae), memories de institute Oceanographique, Monaco, 360 – 650 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Ruffo S (1993) Amphipoda of the Mediterranean, Part 3: Gammaridea (Melphidippidae to Talitridae) Ingolfiellidae, Caprellidae), Memories de institute Oceanographique, Monaco, 650–845 pp.Google Scholar
  43. Sakai T (1976) Crabs of Japan and the adjacent seas. Kodansha, p 773Google Scholar
  44. Sheppard C, Al-Husiani M, Al-Jamali F, Al-Yamani F, Baldwin R, Bishop J, Benzoni F, Dutrieux E, Dulvy NK, Durvasula SR, Jones DA, Loughland R, Medio D, Nithyandandan M, Pilling GM, Pohkarpor I, Price ARG, Purkis S, Riegl B, Saburova M, Namin KS, Taylor O, Wilson S, Sainal K (2010) The Gulf: a young sea in decline. Mar Pollut Bull 60:13–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stachowitsch M, Kikinger R, Herler J, Zolda P, Geutebruck E (2002) Offshore oil platforms and fouling communities in the southern Arabian Gulf (Abu Dhabi). Mar Pollut Bull 44:853–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van Proosdij D, Townsend SM (2006) Spatial and temporal patterns of salt marsh colonization following causeway construction in the Bay of Fundy. J Coast Res SI 39:1859–1863Google Scholar
  47. Wilson KDP, Leung AWY, Kennish R (2003) Restoration of Hong Kong fisheries through deployment of artificial reefs in marine protected areas. ICES J Mar Sci 59:S157–S163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wolfson A, Van Blaricom G, Davis N, Lewbe GS (1979) The Marine life of an offshore oil platform. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 1:81–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Lozano-Cortés
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thadickal V. Joydas
    • 2
  • Khaled Abdulkader
    • 1
  • Periyadan K. Krishnakumar
    • 2
  • Mohammad A. Qurban
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Protection DepartmentSaudi AramcoDhahranKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Center for Environment and Water, Research InstituteKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. 3.Geosciences DepartmentKing Fahd University of Petroleum & MineralsDhahranKingdom of Saudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations