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Contribution of citizen science to improve knowledge on marine biodiversity in the Gulf Region
Castilla, A.M.; Riera, R.; Ali Humaid, M.; Garland Jr., T.; Alkuwari, A.; Muzaffar, S.; Naser, H.A.; Al-Mohannadi, S.; Al-Ajmi, D.; Chikhi, A.; Wessels, J.; Al-Thani, M.A.F.; Takacs, Z.; Valdeón, A. (2017). Contribution of citizen science to improve knowledge on marine biodiversity in the Gulf Region. Journal of the Association of Arab Universities for Basic and Applied Sciences 24: 126-135. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jaubas.2017.06.002
In: Journal of the Association of Arab Universities for Basic and Applied Sciences. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 1815-3852, more

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Marine sustainability; Sea snakes; Interview survey; Public perception; Museum collections; Arabian Gulf

Authors  Top 
  • Castilla, A.M.
  • Riera, R.
  • Ali Humaid, M.
  • Garland Jr., T.
  • Alkuwari, A.
  • Muzaffar, S.
  • Naser, H.A.
  • Al-Mohannadi, S.
  • Al-Ajmi, D.
  • Chikhi, A.
  • Wessels, J.
  • Al-Thani, M.A.F.
  • Takacs, Z.
  • Valdeón, A.

Abstract
    Monitoring marine biodiversity is costly and practical solutions have to be implemented to identify species and their preferred habitats, particularly in this era of rapid global change. Citizen science has proven to be effective and with high potential for monitoring efforts, and has been extensively applied to biodiversity. We have used the citizen science approach to engage the general public and stakeholders to contribute improving the current knowledge of sea snake biodiversity in Qatar and the Gulf Region. Logistic regression analysis using demographic data from interview surveys conducted in Qatar has indicated that the people having seen more sea snakes are older than 30 years and are Qatari citizens and/or fishermen from India.Of the ten species of sea snakes listed in the literature to be present in the Gulf Region, most of them have been reported for Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. However, the number of species present is often assumed based on their occurrence within the Arabian Gulf rather than on actual captures and appropriate identification. The creation of marine reference biological scientific collections to properly identify the species and make accurate biodiversity inventories is an urgent priority for the countries in the Gulf region. To this end, contributions by stakeholders and the general public for this study have proven to be very useful. However a larger networking with local and international scientists and stakeholders is still needed to adequately survey the country’s current biodiversity, identify research priorities and eventually provide the scientific input needed to assist biodiversity management related to renewable resource management and marine conservation in the Arabian Gulf Region.

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