Understanding how physical-biological coupling influences harmful algal blooms, low oxygen and fish kills in the Sea of Oman and the Western Arabian Sea

Paul J. Harrison, Sergey Piontkovski, Khalid Al-Hashmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


In the last decade, green . Noctiluca scintillans with its symbiont and other dinoflagellates such as . Cochlodinium polykrikoides, . Prorocentrum micans and . Scrippsiella trochoidea have become the dominant HABs, partially replacing the previously dominant diatoms and red . Noctiluca scintillans, especially during the northeast monsoon. Fish kills in the Sea of Oman are linked to a slow seasonal decline in oxygen concentration from January to November, probably due to the decomposition of a series of algal blooms and the deep, low oxygen waters periodically impinging the Omani shelf. In the western Arabian Sea, cyclonic eddies upwell low oxygen, nutrient-rich water and the subsequent algal bloom decays and lowers the oxygen further and leads to fish kills. Warming of the surface waters by 1.2. °C over the last 5 decades has increased stratification and resulted in a shoaling of the oxycline. This has increased the probability and frequency of upwelling low oxygen water and subsequent fish kills.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 19 2016



  • Eddies
  • Fish kills
  • HABs
  • Hypoxia
  • Monsoons
  • Sea of Oman
  • Upwelling
  • Western Arabian Sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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