Characterizing algal blooms in a shallow & a deep channel

Maryam R. Al-Shehhi, David Nelson, Rashed Farzanah, Rashid Alshihi, Kourosh Salehi-Ashtiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The outbreaks of algal blooms occur in both shallow and deep-water bodies with varied frequencies in different seasons. To investigate the occurrences of algal blooms in these two different water bodies, we consider the Arabian Gulf (shallow) and the Sea of Oman (deep) as examples for this study. In this work, we have used a recent unique and comprehensive in-situ dataset of the frequent algal blooms collected over the last decade in the Arabian Gulf and Oman Sea. This data includes algal blooms' frequencies as well as seawater properties including sea surface temperature (SST), Dissolved Oxygen (DO), salinity and pH. In addition, we have used satellite SST and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) data, ocean reanalysis data of water currents and bathymetry data. These data have been analyzed through statistical methods including descriptive analysis, trend analysis, and empirical orthogonal function. The results obtained demonstrate a general decreasing trend of the algal bloom events from 2010 to 2018 in the shallow waters while in the deep waters the trend is increasing. We reveal a clear seasonality with the highest frequency and Chl-a concentration of algal blooms during winter and spring. The frequent occurrences of algal blooms during winter is due to favorable SST between 24 °C and 32 °C in shallow waters and up to 28 °C in deep waters. Although salinity differs in the shallow waters (~39 psμ) and deep waters (~37), but algal blooms are found to be tolerant to these different salinity ranges as well as at pH of 8 in both regions. Chl-a commonly exceeds 10 mg m−3 in the shallow waters (<100 m) and at water currents between 0.1 and 0.2 m/s. And it is less than 10 mg m−3 in deeper waters (>100 m) and at water currents exceeding 0.2 m/s. Even at optimum levels of SST and water depth algal blooms cannot occur if there is insufficient supply of nutrients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105840
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Algal blooms
  • Arabian Gulf
  • Chlorophyll a
  • Deep water
  • HPLC
  • Sea of Oman
  • Shallow water
  • Water properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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