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University of Hull (2019)

Conservation of freshwater fishes in Saudi Arabia

Alharthi, Ibrahim Gabel Z.

Titre : Conservation of freshwater fishes in Saudi Arabia

Auteur : Alharthi, Ibrahim Gabel Z.

Université de soutenance : University of Hull

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2019

Résumé partiel
This study aims to gain fundamental knowledge to underpin the formulation of practical solutions to ensure the protection and conservation of Saudi Arabian fishes threatened by anthropogenic activities, whilst taking into account all users and stakeholders. Multivariate analysis, based on species presence/absence data in different water bodies in different regions collected from the literature and this study, was used to determine the biogeographical distribution of fish species in Saudi Arabia. Freshwater fish are mainly located within drainages in the south-west of the Kingdom, both in lowlands (western drainage systems) and highlands (eastern drainage systems) of the Sarawat Mountain Range. Importantly, this study recorded the presence of non-native fish species in the dams located in Al Baha Region, Abha and Rabigh, which means both western and eastern drainage systems are being invaded by non-native species such as Oreochromis spp. and Carassius spp. The ecology of three native (Carasobarbus apoensis, Cyprinion mhalensis, Garra buettikeri) and four non-native (Oreochromis niloticus, Poecilia latipinna, Carassius carassius and Gambusia affinis) species were studied in eight water bodies (five dams, two wadis and one lake) considered representative of the habitats occupied by freshwater fish in Saudi Arabia. Fish were caught by a variety of sampling methods (gill nets, traps and angling) in three seasons (spring [post floods], summer [extreme temperatures and drought conditions] and winter) and examined for age and growth, feeding ecology and reproductive characteristics. The growth of each species was found to vary between sites and was related mostly to habitat type and the quality of the environment. The dietary studies provided valuable information about the feeding habits of native and non-native fish species in Saudi Arabia and the how foods consumed varied between species, habitat types, size/age of fish species and with season. All species were found to be omnivorous, with varying degrees of specialism towards planktivorous, herbivorous or detritivorous diets, with the exception of Garra buettikeri, which is a planktivorous/benthivorous species.

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