Shawky Mansour, Talal Al-Aw
Marine environment of Sultanate of Oman has variety of valuable coral reefs ecosystems. The northern coasts contain some of the most extensive and diverse coral reefs. However, recent evidences indicate that changes in Omani coral reefs have been occurring during the last two decades and the coral communities have been affected by natural factors and human disturbances. In this research, we performed several GIS functions to provide an effective spatial assessment of Omani coral reefs. A GIS based measure was applied and a logistic regression technique was performed to estimate coral bleaching across northern coasts of Oman. Several spatial aspects are explicitly integrated in the study conceptual framework particularly probability map of coral bleaching and mortality. The multivariate logistic regression was entered into ArcGIS 10 software and a map showing the probability of bleaching occurring was produced. The study findings indicate that while the coral reefs ecosystem along Musandam peninsula is less influenced by human threats, the capital coral compositions are located in small distance to anthropogenic disturbances. Consequently, coral mortality rate is higher in all coral communities that are located near human activities. The produced probability map of bleaching illustrates that higher bleaching severity found to be close to capital coasts and urban clusters. Moreover, bleaching increases particularly towards the coasts of Mutrah and Muscat governorates. Further spatial research is needed in order to model and assess geographic variations of anthropogenic impacts on coral ecosystems. Similarly, developing a governmental monitoring plan is required to diminish potential human threats on biodiversity of coral compositions.