Doha, January 16 (QNA) - Qatar University held today the International Conference on Sabkha in Qatar with the participation of international scholars and researchers at the aim of exchanging information about scientific developments in this field and the ways to develop research and exploration.
The conference provides an overview on the importance of Sabkhas as a natural resource and the urgency of protecting and preserving them, with a historical background about the pioneering research on the Sabkha sediments that started during the sixties of the last century when the first recent dolomite was discovered in the Sabkha of Qatar in 1961.
In the opening remarks of the conference, HE the President of Qatar University, Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, said that this international scientific conference comes as part of the university's commitment in supporting researches related to all various components of the natural ecosystem of the State of Qatar and the region.
His Excellency explained that the study of Sabkha as part of the ecosystem is one of the research priorities set in Qatar National Vision 2030, QU's strategy and QU's scientific research priorities. HE Dr. Al-Derham said that the study Sabkha is one of these priorities and our organization of such a specialized conference in this field reflects our constant commitment to these constants is a service to our country and scientific research.
The Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at QU, Prof Mariam Al-Ali Al-Maadeed, emphasized the importance of the conference that combines the expertise of international scholars on Sabkhas and encourages interdisciplinary research on this matter. Prof. Al-Maadeed added: "The organization of this conference reflects the commitment of Qatar University to study and protect the natural heritage of the country through innovative scientific research."
The Director of the Environmental Science Center at QU Prof. Hamad Al-Saad Al-Kuwari, said: "Sabkhas are unique depositional ecosystems that are developing under arid climatic conditions, pointing out that the best recent Sabkhas are found around the Arabian Gulf and the best-preserved ones are in Qatar."
He added: "The aim of this conference is to bring under one roof scholars of different disciplines to present their research in this new line of research and find new ways of collaboration that can benefit them all.
The international scholars from the US, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Middle East conducted different sessions on the physical and chemical characteristics of the Sabkha ecosystem and its biological components, including the microbial mats. Microbial dolomite was addressed since dolomite is a very important reservoir in Qatar (the Khuff Formation), forming the main reservoir of the supergiant North gas field of Qatar.
In addition to sessions on other bio-minerals, such as clay minerals, and the use of the biological components in soil remediation and archaeological site preservation are held.
The conference concluded with a round table discussion by researchers and key decision-making representatives, discussing the future of Sabkha research and ways to develop the interdisciplinary nature of such research considering the importance of Qatars Sabkha as the only remaining well-preserved site in the world. (QNA)