Doha-based marine researchers said on Monday that high sea temperatures off the coast of Qatar caused precious coral reef in danger and mass deaths over 20 types of fish.
Experts from Qatar University carried out a study and the environment ministry has revealed that water temperatures during the fierce Gulf summer have passed 36°C (97 °F).
Researchers are concerned about the potential long-term impact on the coral reef in waters surrounding Qatar.
“The coral reef may be affected by the temperature, we don’t know yet. 36°C (97 °F), this is really too much. It’s really sensitive to high temperatures,” Qatar University marine biology Professor Dr Ibrahim Al-Maslamani said.
“If the system shuts down it will really be a disaster,” he added.
Not only the heat’s potential impact on the reef, fish have also been affected, according to Maslamani.
His assessment revealed that more than 18 different species have been killed by the high temperatures and a low level of dissolved oxygen in sea waters.
The study also found that sea bed temperatures reached up to 35.9°C (96.6 °F) in the past week.