Concept: Arabian Sea
The first record of the Ganges shark Glyphis gangeticus from anywhere in its range in over a decade is reported from the Arabian Sea. One female specimen was recorded at Sassoon Docks in Mumbai, India in February 2016, measuring 266 cm total length. In light of the Critically Endangered status of this species and its rarity, urgent management actions are needed to determine population size and trends in abundance in combination with fisher education and awareness campaigns.
Coral reefs rely on inter-habitat connectivity to maintain gene flow, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Coral reef communities of the Red Sea exhibit remarkable genetic homogeneity across most of the Arabian Peninsula coastline, with a genetic break towards the southern part of the basin. While previous studies have attributed these patterns to environmental heterogeneity, we hypothesize that they may also emerge as a result of dynamic circulation flow; yet, such linkages remain undemonstrated. Here, we integrate satellite-derived biophysical observations, particle dispersion model simulations, genetic population data and ship-borne in situ profiles to assess reef connectivity in the Red Sea. We simulated long-term (>20 yrs.) connectivity patterns driven by remotely-sensed sea surface height and evaluated results against estimates of genetic distance among populations of anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the eastern Red Sea coastline. Predicted connectivity was remarkably consistent with genetic population data, demonstrating that circulation features (eddies, surface currents) formulate physical pathways for gene flow. The southern basin has lower physical connectivity than elsewhere, agreeing with known genetic structure of coral reef organisms. The central Red Sea provides key source regions, meriting conservation priority. Our analysis demonstrates a cost-effective tool to estimate biophysical connectivity remotely, supporting coastal management in data-limited regions.
From the eighth century onward, the Indian Ocean was the scene of extensive trade of sub-Saharan African slaves via sea routes controlled by Muslim Arab and Swahili traders. Several populations in present-day Pakistan and India are thought to be the descendants of such slaves, yet their history of admixture and natural selection remains largely undefined. Here, we studied the genome-wide diversity of the African-descent Makranis, who reside on the Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan, as well that of four neighboring Pakistani populations, to investigate the genetic legacy, population dynamics, and tempo of the Indian Ocean slave trade. We show that the Makranis are the result of an admixture event between local Baluch tribes and Bantu-speaking populations from eastern or southeastern Africa; we dated this event to ∼300 years ago during the Omani Empire domination. Levels of parental relatedness, measured through runs of homozygosity, were found to be similar across Pakistani populations, suggesting that the Makranis rapidly adopted the traditional practice of endogamous marriages. Finally, we searched for signatures of post-admixture selection at traits evolving under positive selection, including skin color, lactase persistence, and resistance to malaria. We demonstrate that the African-specific Duffy-null blood group-believed to confer resistance against Plasmodium vivax infection-was recently introduced to Pakistan through the slave trade and evolved adaptively in this P. vivax malaria-endemic region. Our study reconstructs the genetic and adaptive history of a neglected episode of the African Diaspora and illustrates the impact of recent admixture on the diffusion of adaptive traits across human populations.
Authigenic carbonate build-ups develop at seafloor methane-seeps, where microbially mediated sulphate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane facilitates carbonate precipitation. Despite being valuable recorders of past methane seepage events, their role as archives of atmospheric processes has not been examined. Here we show that cyclic sedimentation pulses related to the Indian monsoon in concert with authigenic precipitation of methane-derived aragonite gave rise to a well-laminated carbonate build-up within the oxygen minimum zone off Pakistan (northern Arabian Sea). U-Th dating indicates that the build-up grew during past ~1,130 years, creating an exceptional high-resolution archive of the Indian monsoon system. Monsoon-controlled formation of seep-carbonates extends the known environmental processes recorded by seep-carbonates, revealing a new relationship between atmospheric and seafloor processes.
The Republic of Yemen has the highest incidence of malaria in the Arabian Peninsula, yet little is known of its vectors or transmission dynamics.
Dracaena cinnabari (DC) is a perennial tree that located on the Southern coast of Yemen native to the Socotra Island. This tree produces a deep red resin known as the Dragon’s blood, the Twobrother’s Blood or Damm Alakhwain. The current study performed to evaluate the safety of the DC resin methanol extract after a single or 28 consecutive daily oral administrations.
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation has been traditionally linked to the extremes in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) affecting more than a billion people in the region. This trans-oceanic influence is seen to be moderated by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) phenomenon in recent decades. In the presence of a positive IOD (pIOD), the otherwise subdued ISMR in an El Niño year remains close to normal even in the face of record breaking El Niños. While this general influence of pIOD on ISMR is understood, the influence of negative IOD (nIOD) on ISMR is not yet recognized. In this study, it is revealed that those opposite phases of IOD are associated with distinct regional asymmetries in rainfall anomalies. The pIOD is associated with a tripolar pattern in rainfall anomalies with above normal rainfall in central parts of India and below normal rainfall to north and south of it. Conversely, the nIOD is associated with a zonal dipole having above (below) normal rainfall on the western (eastern) half of the country. This spatial quasi-asymmetry arises from the differences in the atmospheric responses and the associated differences in moisture transports to the region during contrasting phases of the IOD.
The draft Global Technical Strategy for malaria aims to eliminate malaria from at least 10 countries by 2020. Yemen and Saudi Arabia remain the last two countries on the Arabian Peninsula yet to achieve elimination. Over the last 50 years, systematic efforts to control malaria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has successfully reduced malaria cases to a point where malaria is now constrained largely to Jazan Province, the most south-western area along the Red Sea. The progress toward elimination in this province is reviewed between 2000 and 2014.
Despite a wealth of information on sexual reproduction in scleractinian corals, there are regional gaps in reproductive records. In the Gulf of the Oman in the Arabian Sea, reproductive timing was assessed in four common species of broadcast spawning corals using field surveys of gamete maturity and aquarium observations of spawning activity. The appearance of mature gametes within the same month for Acropora downingi, A. hemprichii, Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea (≥ 75% of colonies, n = 848) indicated a synchronous and multi-specific spawning season. Based on gamete disappearance and direct observations, spawning predominantly occurred during April in 2013 (75-100% of colonies) and May in 2014 (77-94% of colonies). The difference in spawning months between survey years was most likely explained by sea temperature and the timing of lunar cycles during late-stage gametogenesis. These reproductive records are consistent with a latitudinal gradient in peak broadcast spawning activity at reefs in the northwestern Indian Ocean which occurs early in the year at low latitudes (January to March) and progressively later in the year at mid (March to May) and high (June to September) latitudes.