Phytoplankton dynamics in the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat, Red Sea): A simulation study of mariculture effects

Leonardo Laiolo, Alberto Barausse, Zvy Dubinsky, Luca Palmeri, Stefano Goffredo, Yury Kamenir, Tariq Al-Najjar, David Iluz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The northern Gulf of Aqaba is an oligotrophic water body hosting valuable coral reefs. In the Gulf, phytoplankton dynamics are driven by an annual cycle of stratification and mixing. Superimposed on that fairly regular pattern was the establishment of a shallow-water fish-farm initiative that increased gradually until its activity was terminated in June 2008. Nutrient, water temperature, irradiation, phytoplankton data gathered in the area during the years 2007-2009, covering the peak of the fish-farm activity and its cessation, were analyzed by means of statistical analyses and ecological models of phytoplankton dynamics. Two datasets, one from an open water station and one next to the fish farms, were used. Results show that nutrient concentrations and, consequently, phytoplankton abundance and seasonal succession were radically altered by the pollution originating from the fish-farm in the sampling station closer to it, and also that the fish-farm might even have influenced the open water station.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


This study was supported by the programme “The NATO Science for Peace and Security Program (SPS)”, SfP-981883: Protecting the Gulf of Aqaba from Anthropogenic and Natural Stress. Leonardo Laiolo acknowledges support from the faculty of “Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences”, Alma Mater Studiorum, Bologna University, through a thesis abroad scholarship award which allowed him to take part in this project in Israel (Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan and Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences, Eilat). Alberto Barausse acknowledges support from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 226675, KnowSeas project. We thank Ms. Sharon Victor of Bar-Ilan University for the English editing.

FundersFunder number
Alma Mater Studiorum
Bologna University
Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences
Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences
NATO Science for Peace and Security Program
Saudi Pharmaceutical Society
Bar-Ilan University
Seventh Framework Programme226675


    • Aqaba
    • Coastal pollution
    • Coral reefs
    • Eilat
    • Fish farm
    • Phytoplankton dynamics


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