Marine Science Station (MSS) in Aqaba
The Marine Science Station (MSS) was founded in mid 1970s as inter-university research institute (the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University).
The main objectives of establishing the MSS in that time, were to create a marine research facility for scientist and post graduate students, especially scientists coming from abroad, who are interested in studying the tropical-subtropical marine ecosystem. The MSS now is a comprehensive and integrated research center for marine sciences in a broader sense, having until 2017 hosting more than 40 scientific research projects in addition to more than 50 marine studies and more than 500 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals. The MSS facilitate the research and academic role of the Jordanian universities through hosting the graduate students and enabling them to carry out their research at the station through the use of its laboratories and various facilities.
The MSS is carrying out research projects as well as monitoring programs that define the environmental baseline characteristic of the Jordanian coast of the Gulf of Aqaba in addition to some applied aspects of coastal and marine research, such as development of mariculture technology of some economically valuable specie and coral reef ecosystem.
Moreover, the MSS is also considered as the research arm of governmental institutions and private sector in their studies on marine ecosystems, to achieve sustainably without adversely affecting the marine environment. The MSS research provides an integrated understanding of the ecosystem functions that enables adopting suitable management schemes, to optimize the benefits of the scares Jordanian coastal resources and yet preserve them for the future generations, as a part of our valuable human heritage.
The MSS contains in-campus Aquarium. It was rehabilitated in 2016 with expansion and new design enabling visitors to enjoy watching the beautiful scenery of the marine life underwater.
The Marine Science Station consists of several marine research laboratories as follows:
1- Laboratory of Seawater and Sediment Quality LSWSQ: It contains advanced fixed and mobile devices to measure the chemical, physical and biological properties of seawater and sea bottom sediments.
2- Marine Physics Laboratory: It contains mobile devices to measure seawater currents, as well as a permanent external device to measure tides. There’s also a weather station inside the campus that provides continuous readings of weather parameters, like temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, and UV-index.
3- Coral Laboratory: where coral physiology and environmental factors affecting the coral ecosystem are investigated.
4- Aquaculture: culturing specific types of economically valuable fish species are carried out by exposing them to various environmental and food factors.
In addition to these laboratories, the MSS contains educational laboratories and teaching rooms for students of the Faculty of Marine Sciences at the University of Jordan, Aqaba branch.
The MSS contains facilities to support scientific research, including 6 dormitories to be used to accommodate researchers and postgraduate students during conducting their experiments and research at the MSS in addition to two boats are used in all field work to collect water samples from different depths and sediments from Seabed, measuring marine currents, and surveying fish and corals and subspecies of the sea bottom. SCUBA diving is available under the supervision of a professional diving instructor where equipment is available for researchers and technicians for diving, for underwater scientific research purposes.
The MSS obtains two third of its annual revenues from performing studies, research and projects, and the rest from the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University. The MSS has 28 employees, 9 of them are technicians. The MSS is currently hosting several research projects, for example: Seganus Fish Project and Fish Toxicity Project, which is supervised by Prof. Dr. Mohammed Al-Zibdeh, Coral Physiology Project and Marine Biodiversity Project, supervised by Dr. Fuad Al-Horani, Fish Antidotes Project and supervised by Dr. Mohammed Wahsha, and Ocean Acidification Project and supervised by Dr. Ali Al-Sawalmih.
The MSS carries out 7 monitoring programs, while the most important is the National Monitoring Program, supported by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), by which regular and periodic analysis of seawater, sediments, coral reefs and seawater currents are conducted throughout the Jordanian coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. The MSS laboratories perform measurements of seawater quality (chemical, physical and biological properties) with the aim of detecting any possible pollution in the seawater, in addition to measuring the quality of the sediment, which gives an indication of the health and environmental status of water and sediments. The seawater dynamics indicators encompass measurement of tides, sea currents. Moreover, measuring the fish presence in any spot on the coast in terms of number, species and endangered species, measuring the spatial distribution of corals and other organisms in any spot along the coast.
As plans for the next years, the name of the Marine Science Station will be changed to become “Center for Marine Sciences CMS”, in addition to obtaining its laboratories the creditability ISO 17025 certificate, which will enable its laboratories to meet the international quality standards. Moreover, solar energy will also be used as the main source of electricity at the Marine Science Station to achieve sustainability and preservation of the environment as a marine research center. .
The MSS has scientific cooperation with several international research centers and has signed memorandums of understanding with a number of international research centers, such as the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen / Germany, the Mote Laboratories in Florida / USA and Senkenberg Museum in Frankfurt /Germany.