Saudi Aramco News
Marine Atlas of the Western Arabian Gulf

Saudi Aramco has passed another environmental milestone with the publication of the Marine Atlas of the Western Arabian Gulf. The atlas is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and offers a unique window into the diverse, rich marine and coastal environments of the Arabian Gulf. Weighing in at more than 13 pounds, the atlas consists of 11 richly illustrated chapters, natural resource maps and an interactive DVD. The Marine Atlas was produced by the Environment Protection Department (EPD) in partnership with the Center for Environment and Water at the Research Institute of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). Four years in the making, the work is the result of almost 40 years of Saudi Aramco research and monitoring of  the Arabian Gulf’s marine environment. The publication’s 383 pages are filled with photos that are complemented by detailed information and data, helping showcase one of the most diverse ecosystems in the region. The atlas was managed and edited by Dr. Ronald Loughland and Dr. Khaled Al-AbdulKader, marine environmental specialists with the EPD. “We wanted to capitalize on all the information we have gathered over the years by making it accessible to people,” said Al-Abdulkader. “Our goal was to present scientific research in a beautiful and interesting format for all to appreciate – that’s why we had professional photographers capture the Gulf’s hidden treasures,” he added. The atlas team included 18 local and international scientists and numerous technical experts from the region and around the world, each contributing to the development of the publication. It provides an overview of Saudi Aramco’s sustained efforts in studying the marine environment and complements an earlier Saudi Aramco publication, Biotopes of the Western Arabian Gulf. That publication, produced in 1977, first brought the Gulf’s marine environment to international attention. More than 30 years later, the Marine Atlas provides an updated resource for decision makers, academics, and anyone operating in, or interested in the marine environment of the Gulf. “It contains unique information which summarizes most of what we know about the Gulf,” said Al-Abdulkader. “The atlas brings to life the diversity of the different ecosystems in the Gulf. We cover shallow water, deep water, coastal zones, coral reefs and islands — it’s truly comprehensive.” The atlas will be distributed to Saudi Aramco organizations, universities and relevant government organizations in the Kingdom, research institutes in the region and all Saudi Arabian embassies worldwide. An Arabic version is being edited and will be published shortly, and both versions will eventually be made available to the public. (Article by Jamsheed Din)