Coral Reefs In Aqaba

The Red Sea is one of the hottest and saltiest oceans in the world due to its location as the northernmost tropical sea on Earth and its high surface salinities. A salinity of 4%, which is significantly greater than that of other seas, is caused by a combination of factors including a high rate of evaporation, low precipitation, and a dearth of rivers that discharge freshwater into the sea.

The Red Sea is practically tideless because currents are weak and only seldom present, and because tides range from 0.6 to 0.9 meters. The constant north-west wind that dominates the northern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is the main cause of wind-induced currents.

Due to these exceptional circumstances, the Gulf of Aqaba’s shoreline is covered in fringing coral reefs, creating a diverse and rich ecology. This section of the Red Sea is a well-liked national and international tourist attraction, especially for Red Sea Diving Safari Divers and snorkelers, thanks to a combination of a suitable environment, warm sea, and numerous natural and archaeological objects of interest.

Together with coralline algae and certain sponges, corals are the principal reef builders. In addition to fish and seabirds, healthy reefs are also home to sponges, cnidarians, worms, crabs, sea squirts, and sea turtles. In coral reefs, mammals are uncommon, with dolphins being the primary exception as a visiting cetacean. Except from people, of course, who frequently come and appreciate Aqaba’s coral reefs.

From ancient times, corals have been well recognized and mined for usage in jewelry, healing, and building. Corals also contribute significant data to geochemical and climate studies, and they are employed in aquaculture and fish tanks. Swimmers frequently refer to corals as rocks, and their ignorance of the intricate interactions between them causes them to unintentionally destroy delicate living forms when climbing or hanging on to them.

Corals were once thought to as stones or minerals. Nevertheless, in the 11th century, a Persian scholar categorized them as animals on the grounds that they have a sense of touch. Corals were still thought to be plants up until the 18th century, and in many languages they are referred to as “flower creatures”.

A colony in the shape of a coral group or head is built by many polyps, sac-like creatures with sizes ranging from a few millimeters to a few centimeters. Typically during night, polyps feed with their tentacles on a range of tiny creatures, from microscopic zooplankton to small fish. The tentacles retract throughout the day, leaving just the calcium carbonate skeleton exposed.

In collaboration with the Aqaba Marine Park of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, the Jordan Royal Navy, GIZ (Germany), and the Ministry of Environment, the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) recently conducted a study that highlights the critical need to support national efforts to have the corals of Aqaba recognized as a UNESCO natural heritage site.

According to the study, the shoreline of the Gulf of Aqaba is home to at least 150 species of hard corals, 23 of which are hard coral species that are currently thought to be indigenous to the Red Sea. 11 of the 23 hard coral species that are native to the Red Sea may be found in Jordan, making up 7.5% of the total number of Red Sea species. According to JREDS Executive Director Ehab Eid, the statistic is significant and remarkable since it demonstrates the high endemicity percentage of hard corals in the Gulf of Aqaba.