Document Type

Book Chapter

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A Natural History of the Emirates

Publication Date



Marine mammals have always captured the imagination of the people they share their environment with, but few people know that various species populate the waters of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The world’s second largest population of dugongs reside in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, while two species of dolphins (Indian Ocean humpback and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin) and the elusive finless porpoises inhabit Abu Dhabi and Dubai waters. Facing both the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf, the UAE hosts a total of 18 species of marine mammals. These include the biggest animal on Earth, the blue whale, Bryde’s, humpback whales and killer whales, to name a few. However, ecological information about these species is still scarce. With the exponential increase of anthropogenic pressure and effects of climate change on the UAE marine environment, they are facing the risk of disappearing unnoticed. It is imperative to gain a better understanding of their ecology and main threats that affect them to support the implementation of effective conservation measures. Here we review the evolutionary history and adaptation to the water environment of these charismatic group of animals and provide the most up-to-date information on their status in UAE.


978-3-031-37396-1, 978-3-031-37397-8


Springer Nature Switzerland

First Page


Last Page



Life Sciences


Cetaceans, United Arab Emirates, Sirenians, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Hybrid: This publication is openly available in a subscription-based journal/series

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Life Sciences Commons