TSU scientists study over one-third of all fish inhabiting Egypt

TSU biologists have returned fr om taking samples in the construction zone of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, designed and constructed by Russian specialists. TSU biologists are studying the flora and fauna of the part of the Mediterranean Sea wh ere the plant will be constructed. These are approximately 100 species of fish, including endangered species such as the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and the starry catshark (Asymbolus galacticus). Preliminary monitoring shows that the large construction site at El Dabaa does not significantly affect the ecosystems of the area.

TSU scientists in El Dabaa (Egypt)

Photo courtesy of TSU biologists

“We have been conducting monitoring in El Dabaa since 2017, but it was the first time we worked in the spring. This is a very specific time when nature really wakes up, so we were able to collect a very large number of samples,” said Anastasia Simakova, head of the monitoring team and head of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the TSU Biological Institute. “One of the main bioindicators is the condition of the ichthyofauna of the Mediterranean. We identified about 100 fish species in the study area out of more than 260 species known in the Egyptian part of the Mediterranean. About 30% of the species studied are introduced species that entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal at various times.”

The 2024 spring catches were mostly composed of four fish species: one native species, Spicara maena (Linnaeus, 1758), and three introduced: Sargocentron rubrum, Callionymus filamentosus, and Nemipterus randalli.

Rare, endangered, or threatened species included four species of cartilaginous fish: Mustelus mustelus, Rhinobatos rhinobatos, Raja radula, Scyliorhinus stellaris and five species of osteichthyes: Balistes capriscus, Dentex dentex, Epinephelus aeneus, Umbrina cirrosa, and Sciaena umbra.

In addition, TSU biologists assessed the condition of mollusks, crustaceans, worms, and algae. As Anastasia Simakova noted, marine ecosystems are very sensitive to environmental changes such as temperature, pollution, and others, so they are relevant bioindicators.