Reef Ecosystems, Coral Growth on Palm Jumeirah, World

DUBAI — Shoreline development projects are giving local marine species new areas to thrive, environmental scientists said on Tuesday.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 19 Feb 2009, 1:19 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:30 AM

A team of scientists from United Nations University has been working with Nakheel’s internal environmental team since January 2007 to study marine life at the company’s Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeirah developments.

At a depth of three to six metres in the breakwaters at Palm Jumeirah and Jebel Ali Port, coral is growing. The breakwaters – the barriers that prevent currents and waves from eroding the palm and world developments – are made of rock found naturally in Ras Al Khaimah.

Shaun Lenehan, head of Nakheel’s Internal Environment Department, said Nakheel experimented with six different types of artificial reefs, but found that the rock provides the best environment for marine life.

The joint research shows development of communities of molluscs, crustaceans, sponges and coral, according to Peter Sale, assistant director of UNU’s International Network on Water, Environment and Health.

“I actually anticipate the World will become even better,” Sale said.

Lenehan said coral is beginning to grow on both sides of the breakwaters surrounding the world development. On the palm developments it only grows on the ocean-facing side.

“There’s starting to be an abundant and diverse coral reef community that’s developing on all the breakwaters,” Dr David Feary, a UNU scientist based in Dubai, said in an earlier interview. “All of them are exceptionally new structures and it takes a long time for communities to develop.”

Feary likened the coral growth on new structures to the flush of small plants that grow after a forest has cleared. “When the breakwaters are developed there is a coral community that grows on them,” he said.

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