Extreme Environmental Sampling Wanted

Living in a desert can be a daunting experience. I am slowly acclimating to the heat in Abu Dhabi. I cannot last more than 30 minutes out in the summer sun. The temperature hovers between 45°C-50°C during the mid day. The humidity is high and shade is scarce.   But life has evolved to exist and even thrive under these harsh conditions. One such place is the tidal flats along the Abu Dhabi shore. Every high tide brings a fresh influx of sea water that evaporates during the interceding tidal cycles. Salt crust marks the receding high tide.

Looking over the mangroves

Looking over the mangroves near Yas Island.

Stopping on the road, I venture over the railing, walking down the embankment. The heat at the waters edge overwhelms me. The smell of salt and bitterness is in the air. I am surprised at how clear the water is. Small fish and crabs scamper away. I dipped my fingers into the hot water and watch as they dry, leaving a white crust on my skin. Supersaturated 45°C salt water.

shoreline_2

Looking down at the water’s edge

Standing on the shore, I think of how to get access to this area for environmental sampling. It will be exciting to investigate what microbial communities inhabit these salt flats.