A rapid assessment of biodiversity in the immediate wake of civil conflict and other disasters is critical to inform recovery efforts. We report on the first surveys of aquatic biodiversity in Khor Al-Zubair (KAZ) in southern Iraq, following the cessation of recent violence in the region. This site is in the midst of ongoing environmental changes due to climate change and reductions in water flow from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which have led to increases in salinity in the KAZ. Monthly surveys of biodiversity were conducted in 2017-2018 and compared to historical data from the site obtained from a literature survey. Results indicate a loss of 80% of species richness, suggesting a fundamental and potential catastrophic decline in species diversity resulting from largely anthropogenic drivers.
Abdullah, A.D., U.F. Karim, I. Masih, I. Popescuand P. van der Zaag, 2016. Anthropogenic and tidal influences on salinity levels and variability of the Shatt Al-Arab River, Int. J. Riv. Bas. Manage. 14(3): 357-366.
Ahmed, M.M., 1975. Systematic study on mollusca from Arabian Gulf and Shatt Al-Arab. Center for Arab Gulf studies, Basrah Univ. Iraq. 75 pp.
Alainachi, I.H. and B.N. AlBadran, 2009. Stability of River Branch (Creek) Banks in Khor Al-Zubair Area, NW Arabian Gulf. Elec. J. Geotech. Engin. (EJGE) 14: 1-12.
Albarakat, R., L. Venkat and J.T. Compton, 2018. Using satellite remote sensing to Study the impact of climate and anthropogenic changes in the Mesopotamian marshlands, Iraq. Rem. Sens. 10(10): 1524. (https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101524)
Al-Dabbas M.A. and M.H. Al-Jaberi, 2015. Elemental distribution in the calcite and aragonite layers of Chione californiensis from Iraqi coasts North Arabian Gulf. Arab. J. Geosci. 8: 9433-9440. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-015-1862-z)
Al-Handel, A. and C. Hu, 2015. MODIS observations of human-induced changes in the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq. Wetlands. 35(1): 31-40.
Ali, M.H., H.H. Mohammed and H.K. Ahmed, 2020. Temperature Impacts on the Cardiac Activity of the Snail Pomacea canaliculata from Shatt Al-Arab Region, Basrah, Iraq, Baghdad Sci. J. 17(2): 437-443. (https://dx.doi.org/10.21123/bsj. 2020.s17.2.0437)
Ali, M.H., S.D. Salman and A.H.Y. Al-Adhub, 2000. Oxygen consumption of the freshwater crab Elamenopsis kempi (Chopra and Das, 1930) from the Garmat-Ali river, Iraq. Scient. Mar. 64(3): 311-317. (https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2000. 64n3311)
Al-Mayah, A.A., T.Y. Al-Eidani and W.M. Al-Asadi, 2016. Ecology and Flora of Basrah. Ed. Al-Mayah, English and Arabic. Published by: Jeekor Ltd. 686pp.
Al-Mudaffar Fawzi, N.A. and B.A. Mahdi, 2014. Iraq’s inland water quality and their impact on the North-Western Arabian Gulf. Marsh. Bull. 9(1): 1-22.
Al-Mukhtar, D.A., B.M. Al-Ramadhan and H. Al-Sayaab, 1992. One dimensional numerical model for tidal movement in Khor Al-Zubair. MAHASAGAR. 25(2): 65-71.
Al-Musawi, N.O., S.K. Al-Obaidi and F.M. Al-Rubaie, 2018. Evaluating water quality index of Al-Hammar marsh, south of Iraq with the application of GIS technique. J. Engin. Sci. and Tech. 13(12): 4118-4130.
Al-Mussawy, S.N. and M.A. Basi, 1993. Clay minerals of suspended matter and surficial Tigris-Euphrates Delta, North-west Arabian Gulf, Iraq. Estu. Coas. Shel. Sci. 36(2): 183-193.
Al-Noor, S.S., 1994. Ecology and Biology of the mudskippers Periophthalmus waltoni Koumans and Boleophthalmus boddarti (Pallas) in southern of Iraq. M.Sc. Thesis College of Agriculture Basrah University, Basrah, Iraq.
Al-Ramadhan, B.M., 1988. Residual Fluxes of water in an estuarine lagoon. Estu. Coas. Shelf Sci. 26(3): 319-330.
Al-Taee, A.M. and W.F. Hassan, 2011. Distribution of fecal indicator bacteria in Umm Qasr and Khor Al-Zubair–Basrah/ Iraq. Pak. J. Biotec. 8(1): 17-27.
Al-Taei, S.A., R. Subber and F.J. Al-Imarah, 2012. The application of two-dimensional model on oil spill movement in Khor AL Zubair, North west, Arabian Gulf. Adv. Appl. Sci. Res. 3(4): 1963-1977.
Al-Timimi Y.K. and A.A. Al-Khudhairy, 2018. Spatial and Temporal Temperature trends on Iraq during 1980-2015. IOP Conf. Series: Journal Physics Conference. Series 1003(2018): 012091 (doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1003/1/012091)
Aqrawi, A.A., 1994. Petrography and mineral content of sea-floor sediments of the sediments of Khor Al-Zubair Estuary, NW Arabian Gulf, Estu. Coas. Shel. Sci. 38(6): 569-582. (http://www.aiscience.org/journal/jepsd). American Institute of Science.
Azooz, A.A. and S.K. Talal, 2015. Evidence of climate change in Iraq. Environ. Protec. Susta. 1(2): 66-73.
Basrah Gas Company (BGC) 2018. Developing gas infrastructure. www.basrahgas.com
Basrah Oil Company (BOC) 2016. Iraq Oil Exports News, Iraq Oil Production News.
Becker, R.H., 2014. The stalled recovery of the Iraqi marshes. Remote Sen. 6(2): 1260-1274. (https://doi:10.3390/rs6021260)
Bird E.C., 2010. Encyclopedia of the world’s coastal landforms. Band 1. Springer, Heidelberg.
BirdLife International, 2019. Important Bird Area factsheet: Khor Az Zubayr. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2019
Bunzel, C., 2015. From paper state to caliphate: The ideology of the islamic state. The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. 48pp.
Clayton, D., 1993. Mudskippers. Oceanog. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 31: 507-577
Firth, L.B., G.A. Williams, 2009. The influence of multiple environmental stressors on the limpet Cellana toreuma during the summer monsoon season in Hong Kong. J. Exper. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 375(1-2): 70-75.
Francis, R.A., 2011. The impacts of modern warfare on freshwater ecosystems. Environ. Manag. 48(5): 985-999. (doi: 10.1007/s00267-011-9746-9)
Hanson, T., 2018. Biodiversity conservation and armed conflict: a warfare ecology perspective. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1429(1): 50-65.
Hanson, T., T.M. Brooks, G.A.B. Da Fonseca, M. Hoffmann, J.F. Lamoreaux, G. Machlis, C. Mittermeier, R.A. Mittermeier and J.D. Pilgrim, 2009. Warfare in biodiversity hotspots. Cons. Biol. 23(3): 578-587.
Harley, C.D., 2008. Tidal dynamics, topographic orientation and temperature-mediated mass mortalities on rocky shores. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 371: 37-46.
Hassan, K., C. Born and P. Nordqvist, 2018. Iraq Climate-related security risk assessment. Report of the expert working group on climate-related security risks. 23pp.
Helmuth, B.S. and G.E. Hofmann, 2001. Microhabitats, thermal heterogeneity and patterns of physiological stress in the rocky intertidal zone. Biolg. Bull. 201(3): 374-384.
Helmuth, B.S., N. Mieszkowska, P. Moore and S.J. Hawkins, 2006. Living on the edge of two changing worlds: forecasting the responses of rocky intertidal ecosystems to climate change. Annual Review of Ecology, Evol. Syst. 37: 373-404.
Hussain, N.A. and S.M. Ahmed, 1999. Influenced of hydrographic conditions on the interaction between ichthyoplankton and macrozooplankton at Khor Al-Zubair lagoon, Iraq, Arabian Gulf, Qatar Univ. Sci. J. 18: 247-259.
Iraq Ministry of Environment, 2015. National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans 2015-2020 (NBSAP). Copyright April 2015 Ministry of Environment, Republic of Iraq.
Iraqi Ministry of Environment and Nature Iraq, 2015. Key Biodiversity Areas of Iraq. California: Tablet House Publishing. Printed in Hong Kong by Elegance Printing.
Iraqi Ministry of Environment, 2013. first National Environ. Strategy and Action Plan of Iraq (2013-2017) (NESAP) was issued in June 2013.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), 2012. Data collection survey on port sector development plan in Iraq. final report, Summary.
Jones, D.A. and D. Clayton, 1983. The systematics and ecology of crabs belonging to the genera Cleistostoma De Haan and Paracleistostoma De Man on Kuwait mudflats. Crustaceana. 45(2): 183-199.
Mahmood Agha, O.M.A. and N. Şarlak, 2016. Spatial and temporal analysis of droughts in Iraq using the Standardized Precipitation Index. IOSR J. Appl. Physics. 8(6) version 5:19-25.
Marine Science Centre (MSC), 2011. The Marshes-Shatt al-Arab- Gulf System. Status Report-Volume 1: 211. Report in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of Environment submitted to the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME).
Mieszkowska, N., H. Sugden, L.B. Firth and S.J. Hawkins, 2014. The role of sustained observations in tracking impacts of environmental change on marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 372: 20130339. (https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta. 2013.0339).
Munro, D.C. and H. Touron, 1997. The estimation of marshland degradation in Southern Iraq using multitemporallandsat TM images. Int. J. of Rem. Sens. 18(7): 1597-1606.
Murray, N.J., S.R. Phinn, M. DeWitt, R. Ferrari, R. Johnston, M.B. Lyons, N. Clinton, D. Thau and R.A. Fuller, 2018. The global distribution and trajectory of tidal flats. Nature. 565: 222-225.
Naderloo, R., S. Ebrahimnezhad and A. Sari, 2015. Annotated checklist of the decapod crustaceans of the Gulf of Oman, northwestern Indian Ocean. Zootaxa. 4028(3): 397-412.
Naser MD, M.H. Ali and A.G. Yasser, 2010. New record of the fiddler crab Uca (Paraleptuca) sindensis (Crustacea: Brachyura: Ocypodidae) from Khor Al Zubair, Basrah, Iraq. Mar. Biodivers. Rec. 3: e87
Ng Peter, K.L., D.L. Rahayu and M.D. Naser, 2009. The Camptandriidae of Iraq, with description of a new genus and notes on Leptochryseus Al-Khayat and Jones, 1996 (Crustacea: Decapoda:Brachyura). Zootaxa 2312: 1-26. (https://:doi:10.5281/zenodo. 191909).
Parmesan, C., 2006. Ecological and evolutionary responses to recent climate change. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 37: 637-669. (https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys. 37.091305.110100).
Partow, H., 2001. The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem. UNEP Early Warning and Assessment Technical Report, UNEP/DEWA/TR.01-3 Rev. 1 Nariboi, Kenya. 47pp.
Pearce, F., 1993. Draining life from Iraq’s marshes: Saddam Hussein is using an old idea to force the Marsh Arabs from their home. New Scientist. 138: 1869.
Price, A.R., 1998. Impact of the 1991. Gulf War on the coastal environment and ecosystems: Current status and future prospects. Environ. Int. 24(1): 91-96.
Richardson, C.J., P. Reiss, N.A. Hussain, A.J. Alwash and D.J. Pool, 2005. The restoration potential of the Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq. Science. 307(5713): 1307-1311. (https://doi:10.1126/science.1105750).
ROPME, 1986. Final report. The 18-month Marine Pollution Monitoring and Research Program in Iraq. Internal report presented to ROPME unpublished.
Rubec, C., A. Alwash and A. Bachmann, 2009. The Key Biodiversity Areas Project in Iraq: Objectives and Scope 2004-2008. In: Krupp F, Musselman LJ, Kotb MMA, Weidig I (Eds) Environment, Biodiversity and Conservation in the Middle East. Proceedings of the First Middle Eastern Biodiversity Congress, Aqaba, Jordan, 20–23 October 2008. BioRisk. 3: 39-53. (https://doi:10.3897/biorisk.3.12).
Salim, M.A., I.M. Abd, N.A. Abdulhassan and M.S. Minjal, 2009. Key biodiversity survey of Southern Iraq 2009 Site review. Edited by Daniel Hudson Burnham and Anna Bachmann.
Sheppard, C., M. Al-Husiani, F. Al-Jamali, F. Al-Yamani, R. Baldwin, J. Bishop, F. Benzoni, E. Dutrieux, N.K. Dulvy, S.R. Durvasula, D.A. Jones,. R. Loughland, D. Medio, M. Nithyanandan, G.M. Pilling, I. Polikarpov, A.R. Price, S. Purkis, B. Riegl, M. Saburova, Samimi, K. Namin, O. Taylor, S. Wilson and K. Zainal, 2010. The Gulf: a young sea in decline. Mar. Poll. Bull. 60(1): 13-38. (https://doi:10.1016/ j.marpolbul.2009.10.017).
Shubbar, R.M., H.H. Salman and Dong‐In Lee, 2016. Characteristics of climate variation indices in Iraq using a statistical factor analysis. Int. J. Climatol. 37(2). (https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4749).
Shukla, M.L., J.N. Trivedi, G.M. Soni, B.K. Pateland K.D. Vachhrajani, 2014. Mudskipper (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae) fauna of Northern Gulf of Khambhat with two new record of species from Gujarat, Ind. Europ. J. Zool. Res. 3(3): 67-74.
Tawfiq, N. and D. Olsen, 1993. “Saudi Arabia's Response to the 1991 Gulf Oil Spill.” Mar. Poll. Bull. 27: 333-345.
Thesiger, W., 1964. The Marsh Arabs. Longmans, London, UK. 242pp.
Trivedi, J.N., D.J. Trivedi and K.D. Vachharajani, 2017. Range extension of brachyuran crabs of the family Camptandriidae Stimpson, 1858 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in Indian waters. Check List. 13(3): 2145. (https://doi.org/10.15560/ 13.3.2145ISSN 1809-127X).
Williams, G.A., 1994. The relationship between shade and molluscan grazing in structuring communities on a moderately–exposed tropical rocky shore. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 178(1): 79-95.
Williams, G.A., B. Helmuth, B.D. Russell, Y.W. Dong, V. Thiyagarajan and L. Seuront, 2016. Meeting the climate change challenge: Pressing issues in southern China and SE Asian coastal ecosystems. Reg. Stud. Mar. Sci. 8(3): 373-381.
Williams, G.A., M. De Pirro, K.M.Y. Leung and D. Morritt, 2005. Physiological responses to heat stress on a tropical shore, the benefits of mushrooming behavior in the limpet Cellana grata. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 292: 213-224 (https://doi.10.3354 /meps292213).
Yaseen, B.R., K.A. Al-Asaady and M.T. Chaichan, 2016. Environmental impacts of salt tide in Shatt Al-Arab Basra/Iraq. IOSR J. Environ. Sci. Toxicol. Food Techn., (IOSR-JESTFT) 10(1) Ver. II: 35-43.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2022 Malik Hassan Ali, Nadia Al-Mudaffar, Hanaa Hussein Mohammed, Brian Helmuth, Amanda M. Dwyer