Mesoscale and Nutrient Conditions Associated with the Massive 2008 Cochlodinium polykrikoides Bloom in the Sea of Oman/Arabian Gulf

Adnan R. Al-Azri, Sergey A. Piontkovski, Khalid A. Al-Hashmi, Joaquim I. Goes, Helga do R. Gomes, Patricia M. Glibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Cochlodinium polykrikoides formed large blooms in the coastal waters of Oman from October 2008 through mid-January 2009, and satellite images from Aqua-MODIS and region-wide reports suggest that this bloom was found throughout the Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman for more than 10 months. The unusual occurrence of this species appears to have supplanted the more regularly occurring bloom species, Noctiluca scintillans, in 2008-2009. For the first 2 weeks of the coastal Omani bloom, C. polykrikoides abundance was near monospecific proportions, with cell densities ranging from 4.6 × 103 to 9 × 106 cells L-1 and very high levels of chlorophyll a (78.0 μg L-1) were also recorded. The regional progression of the bloom likely began with stronger than normal upwelling along the Iranian and northern Omani coasts during the southwest monsoon in late summer, followed by discharge of unusually warm coastal plume water along the coast of Oman with the reversal of monsoonal winds in late October. The occurrence and persistence of high densities of C. polykrikoides in Oman coastal water were also significantly influenced by an elevated nutrient load and warmer than normal temperatures. Concentrations of nutrients, especially NH4 +, urea, PO4 3-, and organic nitrogen and phosphorus, were manyfold higher than observed in the year prior or since. These findings suggest that mesoscale features were important in bloom dynamics more regionally, but locally the bloom was sustained by nutrient enrichment supplemented by its mixotrophic capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalEstuaries and Coasts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Cochlodinium polykrikoides
  • Harmful algal blooms
  • Noctiluca scintillans
  • Phytoplankton
  • Sea of Oman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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