Researchers undertake collaborative scientific diving surveys in Qatar



A group of staff and student researchers from the School of Life Sciences has undertaken seabed surveys in a project in collaboration with scientists from Qatar University, a project funded by the Qatar Ministry of Interior.

The project was led by Dr Joanne Porter as part of the research work of Qatari PhD student  Marwa Mohammed Al Ghanem, who is studying at Heriot-Watt. The team involved Heriot-Watt Scientific Divers and academics  and was also joined by visiting scholar Dr Alba Lucia Mulford and Mary Spencer Jones, Senior Curator at the Natural History Museum, London.

The team flew out to Doha to join the Qatar University Research Vessel ‘Janan’ and surveys were undertaken along the coastline of Qatar from areas close to Doha and then at intervals northwards to Raslaffan. The aim of the research was to collect sample of marine Bryozoa from Qatari waters, associated with bivalve and coral reefs. 

The survey was very successful with six locations surveyed and more than 200 samples collected. The samples will be analysed and expected new species described. Mineralogy tests of the skeletons of calcified organisms will be performed to provide a baseline for future understanding of changes in sea water chemistry due to climate change impact. Future follow up work is planned in conjunction with scientists from Qatar University.