A history of remotely sensed and insitu measurements of chlorophyll in the Gulf of Aqaba
Alexander Dadashev(1) and Dan Blumberg(1)
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,
POB 653 ,
84105 Beer Sheva ,
The Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat) is the world's northernmost tropical marine ecosystem and the aquatic area is the prime attraction for tourism. It is an environmentally unique area, with warm clear waters and a complex reef ecosystem. This unique entity is impacted by natural and anthropogenic effects such as intense recreational SCUBA diving, waste disposal, mariculture eutrophication, algal blooms, overfishing, and siltation. All have been recognized as direct and immediate threats to the complex reef ecosystem. The long-term monthly means of hydro-meteorological parameters and chlorophyll a (Chl) concentration provide valid tools for environmental monitoring of such effects. Using satellite-carried optical sensors, one can estimate phytoplankton spatial distribution, synoptically, rapidly and on a large scale, and thus provide a useful tool for monitoring aquatic environments. Our aim is to monitor and study the seasonal geographical variability of Chl and sea surface temperature in the context of the spatial and temporal characteristics of anthropogenic and natural eutrophication of the northern part of Gulf. This will allow us to detect any long term trends, and distinguish these from seasonal fluctuations and inter-annual variability.