The faculty members at the Faculty of Marine Sciences in Aqaba were the main founders and implementers of the on going National Monitoring Program (NMP) on marine environment of Gulf of Aqaba since its initiation two decades ago. Implementation of NMP was commenced in 2001. In February 2000, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) was established and NMP, becoming under the responsibility of the Environment Commission and the purpose of which was mainly to carry out resource management oriented research and provide explanations of the NMP findings. The long term outcome of NMP was the declared commitment of the ASEZA to finance and manage a sustainable NMP of the coastal environment for the entire coastal line of Gulf of Aqaba.
The aim of the program is to provide resource managers with necessary baseline data on seawater, bottom surface sediment and coastal habitat quality to help them understand the coastal ecosystem functioning and enable them to adopt suitable management schemes. The main specific objectives of the monitoring program are to: (i) generate systematic records of the seawater physical properties; transparency, color and odor, temperature, salinity and currents (ii) generate systematic records of the seawater chemical and biological properties; dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, silicate and chlorophyll a (iii) generate baseline records of the bottom sediment quality variables sedimentation rate, color and odor, redox potential, grain size, concentrations of calcium carbonate, organic carbon, organic nitrogen and total phosphorus (iv) generate baseline records of the bottom habitat on live coral cover and reef health (v) generate baseline records of fish abundance and biodiversity of coral reef and sea grass habitat (vi) discuss the generated records and provide simple data analysis to pinpoint possible trends or abnormalities and (vii) suggest standard codes of reference of the Jordanian coastal waters of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Source; Prof. Mohammad Al-Zibdeh.