The alwathba wetland reserve lake in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and its ostracod (seed shrimp) fauna

Anitha Saji, Steffen Mischke, Pritpal S. Soorae, Shakeel Ahmed, Shaikha Al Dhaheri

Abstract

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve (AWWR) lake, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is an artificially created water body in a natural wetland region that experienced seasonal flooding before the establishment of the lake. The lake is mostly fed by treated waste water, and became a protected wetland reserve after the Greater Flamingo started to successfully breed in the area in 1998. Detailed monitoring of several hydrochemical parameters and water depth at nine stations and two inlets of treated water in the lake was conducted over a period of seven years starting in January 2010. As a result, the seed-shrimps (Ostracoda: Podocopida) Heterocypris salina, previously reported from a late Miocene location in the UAE, and Cyprinotus cingalensis were recorded for the modern fauna of the UAE for the first time. The presence of the ostracods only at the station with the lowest salinity in the AWWR Lake shows that their distribution is predominantly controlled by the salinity of the water which covered an extremely large range of more than two orders of magnitude (1.45-457%) at the different sampling sites and inlets during the monitoring period. Thus, the lake represents an interesting and important ecological research laboratory under semi-natural conditions.

Keywords

Heterocypris salina, Cyprinotus cingalensis, Salinity, Ramsar wetland site.

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