Sea Turtle in Doha Qatar
Until recently nothing was known of hawksbill at-sea habitat in the Arabian region other than the location of nesting sites and inferences drawn from their spongivorous diet which suggested they inhabited only coral reef habitats. understand sea turtle habitat use in the Arabian region alongside partners from Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The Arabian region comprises the Arabian Gulf It supports large green turtle and hawksbill turtle populations on In Qatar North and South Al Royes , Foyarat and IShatt ISland ,Karan and Jana Islands in Saudi Arabia, and at Ras Al Jinz / Ras Al Hadd in Oman. Smaller nesting aggregations are found in Iran and Kuwait, and recently a nest was found in the UAE. There are hawksbill turtle nesting rookeries in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Masirah Island, Oman supports one of the largest loggerhead rookeries in the world of thousands of nesting females along with hawksbill turtles and a small population of olive ridley turtles.
The Gulf is a unique environment which undergoes extreme water and air temperature fluctuations; as a result this climate has a profound impact on marine species development and distribution. Surface waters typically exceed 30°C for sustained periods and the Gulf can be likened to a natural living laboratory for understanding thermoregulatory behaviour by marine species in the face of climate change and elevated global temperatures.
Marine turtles play valuable ecological roles as consumers and prey and they are indirectly linked to seabed and fisheries stability. Marine turtles can be indicator species of the relative health of habitats that support commercial fish and invertebrates that are valued by mankind. Marine turtles also have non-consumptive uses such as tourism, education and research.
The satellite tracks showed that turtles tended to stay near their nesting sites for varying periods of time, thus allowing us to estimate that they laid between three and six clutches of eggs per season. As they left their nesting grounds, most turtles moved south or southwest toward the corner of the Gulf shared by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, with only a few traveling into the Gulf of Salwa (between Qatar and Saudi Arabia). Even fewer went northward toward Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.