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