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All forms of scientific research projects on the physical and biological environment in Abu Dhabi emirate must obtain an NOC from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) through completing and submitting an application form. Download the Technical Guidance Document for Scientific Research Permitting in Abu Dhabi Emirate for detailed information and advice on this process, then download and complete the Scientific Research NOC application form available on this page.
Completed Scientific Research NOC Application Forms should be sent to Customerhappiness@ead.gov.ae
We provide data and access to specific resources and experts for environment-related research.
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EAD invite the Scientific Research Community to collaborate with EAD scientists in strengthening the body of knowledge about the environment of Abu Dhabi. The following table lists topics for possible research collaboration with EAD.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on research collaboration.
Protect Our Water, Air & Land
Conserve Groundwater And Actively Contribute To Integrated Water Management In Abu Dhabi
Ensure comprehensive understanding of groundwater resources in Abu Dhabi
1. Determine the impacts, including cumulative, of the various agricultural industries, different agricultural practices and other industries on the quality and quantity of water resources
2. Analysis of residential water consumption, including the volumes and types of use of residential water consumption
3. Assess the value of Abu Dhabi's water resources (groundwater and marine)
4. Developing a Dynamic Approach to Water Budgeting for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
5. Determine the location, size and level of contamination in aquifers
6. Modelling of aquifer behaviour post recharge
Educate & positively influence stakeholders on groundwater related topics and issues
1. Determine the most effective triggers (-ve & +ve) of water consumer behaviour
Explore innovative solutions to conserve groundwater and optimise its use in Abu Dhabi
1. A comprehensive Legal Framework for Water Resources Management in Abu Dhabi: Towards Efficiency, Security, Fairness and Sustainability
2. Development of spatial zoning for groundwater, with protection limits for each zone, in order to have differential protection for agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystems.
Strengthen and enforce legal and regulatory framework for groundwater
1. Determine how social, political and economic factors affect water resources and identify those factors that have the most impact on changes in water resources
2. What is the lowest theoretical water use by the agricultural sector to maintain the current level of agricultural production? What techniques would we need to employ to achieve this production?
3. Assess the potential for cost effective exploitation of Abu Dhabi's deep aquifers
Play an active role in advancing integrated water management
1. How to best evaluate effectiveness, cost-efficiency, feasibility, and performance of water management policies and measures
Protect Air Quality
Establish effective coordination mechanisms with key stakeholders and align on common policies and plans for air quality and noise in Abu Dhabi
1. How to best set the values for Abu Dhabi KPIs and how to define a work plan to achieve those targets? Consider alternative/complementary modelling approaches in combination with stakeholder engagement
2. How to best evaluate effectiveness, cost-efficiency, feasibility, and performance of policies and measures (ex-ante and ex-post)
Strengthen legal and regulatory framework for air quality and noise
1. How to best manage the: (a) cumulative effects of air pollutant emission sources, (b) transport and dispersion of air pollutants in the atmosphere, to ensure an effective and cost-efficient attainment of federal emission limits.
2. Which fixed and mobile emission sources should be prioritized for new or revised regulation and why?
Build a strong and comprehensive understanding and improve analysis of ambient air quality and noise
1. Where are the hotspots for exposure to outdoor air pollution?
2. Where are the hotspots for exposure to noise pollution and are noise levels above federal limits?
3. How to reduce exposure of population to harmful doses of ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution.
4. How to reduce exposure of population and wildlife to harmful noise levels in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Work with relevant stakeholders to educate and advance knowledge on air quality and noise issues
1. Design method and mechanisms to inform vulnerable populations of upcoming episodes of high air pollution.
Mitigate Climate Change and Adapt to its Impacts
Improve and build comprehensive understanding and knowledge about climate change and its impacts
1. Which elements of biodiversity in which locations are most vulnerable to climate change, including extreme events?
2. How is the resilience of ecosystems to climate change affected by human activities and interventions?
3. What factors determine the rates at which coastal ecosystems can respond to sea-level rise, and which of these are amenable to management?
4. How will climate change, together with other environmental stressors, alter the distribution and prevalence of diseases of wild species?
5. How will human responses to climate change (e.g., changes in agriculture, resource conflicts, and migration) affect biodiversity?
6. How might biodiversity policies and management practices be modified and implemented to accommodate climate change?
7. How might emerging carbon markets affect biodiversity through their impacts on the protection, management, and creation of habitats?
8. What are the potential effects of feedbacks between climate change and ecosystem dynamics (e.g., drought, forest dieback, and coral bleaching) on the effectiveness of policy measures to sequester carbon and protect biodiversity?
9. How much carbon is sequestered by different ecosystems, including their soils, and how can these ecosystems be managed to contribute most effectively to the mitigation of climate change?
10. How, where, and to what extent can natural and seminatural ecosystems contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation?
11. How will climate change affect the distribution and impacts of climate-dependent disturbance regimes?
12. How will climate change affect global food production, and what are the resulting consequences for ecosystems and agrobiodiversity?
13. How does biodiversity shape social resilience to the effects of climate change?
14. How is climate change likely to affect the abundance, rates of growth, and distribution of and interactions among populations?
15. How can undesirable ecological, social, and economic effects of future changes in freshwater availability be reduced or mitigated?
16. What are the GHG future scenarios important for avoiding unsustainable development pathways, what are the economic and externality implications, and how can the acceptable pathways be reached by the government, corporates and indiviuals?
17. Based on the UAE National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050, What is the acceptable carbon management strategy and science-based targets for the government and corporates in AD Emirate?
18. What are the integrated policies and co-control measures that can effectively address the air quality and climate change in the Emirate, and what are their health and climate co-benefits?
19. What policies and management strategies most effectively mitigate the undesirable effects of non-native invasive species, potential disease vectors, and emerging pathogens?
20. Based on various development scenarios, conduct or re-appraise land-use modeling to incorporate climate change considerations and determine the future state of the natural resource base of the emirate
21. Accounting for climate change impacts, determine how and to what extent various land use practices exacerbate the impact of natural disasters, including in the coastal area
22. Impacts of climate change on flora/fauna and associated adaptation options for key species considered to be of high priority
23. Determine the critical components/features of coastal vegetation for maintenance of critical ecosystem functions in the face of climate change impacts
24. Assess the economic value of terrestrial ecosystem services, particularly, their value in protection against natural disasters
Strengthen regulatory framework for climate change mitigation in Abu Dhabi and encourage adoption of mitigating measures
1. What regulation is needed to enhance better understanding of climate change and provide options for mitigation?
Ensure adaptive management to protect Abu Dhabi?s ecosystems and vulnerable environmentally valued land from climate change impacts
1. How can ecosystems be managed to increase protection of humans and biodiversity from extreme events?
2. What is the effect of climate change on species persistence in sensitive ecosystems (e.g. corals)?
3. What are the evolutionary consequences (adaptive potential to change within species?) of the alteration of ecosystems by humans?
4. Determine the factors that contribute to resilient coral reefs
5. Conduct studies to assess the vulnerability of human populations and ecosystems to climate change
6. Determine how adaptable critical habitats and species are to climate change
7. Assess the influence of climate change on ecosystem range / extent
8. Assessment potential influence of climate change on the spread of invasive species
Liaise with Local and Federal Governments to drive collective action against climate change
1. Assess the potential climate change impacts arising from GHG emissions in Abu Dhabi Emirate.
Ensure Integrated Management of Waste in Abu Dhabi to Protect The Environment
Ensure development of comprehensive waste plans & policies and enhance stakeholder coordination mechanisms
Improve waste regulatory framework and ensure effective enforcement
Enhance availability and reliability of waste data and information
1. Determine how significant sewage and solid waste are as contaminants
2. Investigate the potential filtering or cleaning effects of particular species and / or ecosystems as related to different types of pollution and contamination, e.g. reedbed rootzone treatment.
Support awareness and education on waste reduction, reuse and recycling across key sectors
Protect Quality of Marine Water to Preserve Ecosystems and Public Health
Strengthen planning around marine water quality and effectively influence key stakeholder decisions
1. Full Cost Accounting of Brine Discharge into the Arabian Gulf
Ensure comprehensive understanding, knowledge and awareness building about marine water quality in Abu Dhabi
1. Investigate the oceanographic and bathymetric patterns of the coastal and marine environment
Improve marine water quality regulatory controls and compliance
1. Minimise impacts of brine from desalinisation on marine environment
Play an effective role in ensuring preparedness, response and restoration against marine water incidents and emergencies to protect society and the environment
Ensure Sustainable and Integrated Approaches to Protecting Land and Soil
Strengthen policy and planning framework around soil quality and effectively influence key stakeholder decisions
Improve and enforce regulatory framework for soil quality
Ensure comprehensive understanding, knowledge and awareness building about soil quality in Abu Dhabi
1. Identify areas at risk from erosion and identify causes
2. How are arid and semi-arid ecosystems affected by the interaction of multiple stressors such as grazing by domestic livestock, soil erosion, and drought?
3. At what spatial and temporal scales are management or policy interventions most likely to achieve various objectives for conservation of land cover?
4. Determine how social, political and economic factors affect soil productivity and identify those factors that have the most impact on changes in soil productivity
Play an effective role in ensuring land contamination management and restoration
Conserve And Protect Our Biodiversity
Ensure Effective and Evidence-based Planning and Regulation for Abu Dhabi?s Biodiversity
Ensure comprehensive assessment and monitoring of biodiversity in Abu Dhabi
1. Determine the status, distribution and abundance of mangroves that provide critical ecosystem service functions such as shoreline protection and act as nurseries
2. Determine migration patterns/corridors for green turtles, genetic population data ecology and biology of foraging turtles, poaching assessment
3. Improve knowledge of the aundance and distribution, habitat utilisation, threatening processes, conservation status indicators of key species
4. Determine transboundary movement patterns/migration corridors, by-catch survey data
5. Collate strandings data, threatening processes, conservation status indicators, migration patterns/corridors, in order to establish a record of ecology and habitat utilisation for key species
6. Determine abundance and distribution by habitat type, diversity and community structutre by habitat type (other than coral reefs). Movement patterns of migratory species eg. whale sharks
7. Diversity and community structure data by selected habitat type and species inventories for other habitats
8. Population connectivity and linkages between marine habitats for key species
9. How, where, and when has biodiversity loss affected human welfare?
10. What are the most effective approaches for reversing range and population collapse in top predators, large herbivores, and other species that exert disproportionate effects on ecosystem structure and function?
11. What are the main ecological factors responsible for the decline of a target species?
12. Which demographic component (reproduction, survival, etc.) of a target species is most affected by these factors?
13. What are the qualitative and quantitative requirements of a target species regarding ecological resources (e.g. food, breeding sites)?
14. What is the size of a minimum viable population for a target species?
15. What are the spatial requirements of a target species (e.g. home range size, dispersal distance, minimum habitat patch size and critical inter-patch distance, minimum viable area for population persistence)?
16. What are the potential effects of large-scale energy exploration, development, and extraction projects on ecosystems and species?
17. In which ways are indigenous species affected by neobiota?
18. What methods are effective to control invasive species?
19. What are the best criteria for selecting surrogate species (e.g. indicator, umbrella species)?
20. What are the best techniques for cost-efficient evaluation of the effectiveness of implemented conservation and restoration measures?
21. What is the best strategy to integrate small areas or populations for promoting large-scale biodiversity?
22. Identify coral reefs that are resilient to bleaching and disease within and outside of MPAs
23. Determine cumulative impacts of coastal development on marine resources
24. Collect population dynamics and habitat requirements information on threatened terrestrial species such as Marine turtles, Dugong, dolphins, Arabian Tahr, Sand Cat, Socotra Cormorant, Sooty Falcons, Crab Plovers and other key species
25. Understand movement & migration, habitat use and patterns of key migratory species using cutting edge technologies to identify important areas for their conservation
26. Assess changes in land-use and land cover
27. Measure effectiveness of conservation actions using indices such as RLI for key taxa
28. Impacts of increased temperature on key threateneed/vulnerable species
29. What are the impacts of fragmentation on distribution, abunance of key species?
30. Determine the importance, location and extent of areas of ecosystem function in Abu Dhabi
31. Determine how Abu Dhabi's ecosystems vary in terms of biodiversity
32. Determine the environmental effects and degree of impact of extractive industries on ecosystems and biodiversity
33. Determine the impacts of invasive species, diseases and pest species on various natural resources
34. Aerial extent limited (10-14 m depth), mapping of deep water habitats required. Species inventories of associated flora and fauna, ecological assessments, the role of sea grass and coral habitats as nursery habitat is required
35. Species inventories of associated flora and fauna, ecological assessments, regeneration capacity of natural stands, assessment/monitoring of plantations, human activities, threatening processes and conservation status indicators required.
36. Detailed species inventories of associated flora and fauna, particularly invertebrates, ecological assessments, habitat use/human activities, threatening processes and conservation status indicators required.
37. Ecological assessments, habitat use/human activities, threatening processes and conservation status indicators required.
38. What is the reliance of natural vegetation on groundwater? What is the depth limit of groundwater in order to maintain the current natural vegetation?
39. Species inventories, ecological assessments, habitat use/human activities, threatening processes and conservation status indicators required.
40. Assess the impact of conservation measures taken by EAD by using change in the redlist indices for key species
Strengthen policy and planning framework for biodiversity conservation
1. Assess the impact of anthropogenic pressures on terrestrial biodiversity, in particular critical habitats
Strengthen legal and regulatory framework for biodiversity conservation
1. Conduct cost-benefit analyses of tourism investments vs the value of ecosystem services
2. Assess & research the impact of development pressure on critical habitats in Abu Dhabi
3. Are international conventions & local legislative framework ensuring effective protection & in improving the status of key endangered species/habitats?
Work with relevant stakeholders to educate, raise awareness and engage the community on biodiversity in Abu Dhabi
1. How effective are our awareness and outreach activities in raising awareness on biodiversity
Improve Implementation of in-Situ Conservation & Build a Representative Network of Protected Areas
Build a strong planning and legislative framework to set-up and manage representative networks of terrestrial and marine protected areas
1. Assessment of the carrying capacity of selected areas for current and future uses, to answer questions as: what is the maximum quota for licensed operates in the Mangrove National Park? .
2. Compare the economic value of the protected area system vs. unregulated use if de-reserved
3. Valuation of the important ecosystems (Ideally the 15 selected habitats), to answer questions as: what is the accepted trade-off of the development project impact on these habitats?
4. Compensation is the last resort in the management of conservation actions. Therefore, EAD is required to support development projects in AD with several assessed ALTERNATIVES. In the last 10 years of development, almost all projects ?could not provide this part in their EIAs. ?
5. How effective are different types of protected areas (e.g., strict nature reserves, hunting reserves, and national parks) at conserving biodiversity and providing ecosystem services?
6. What are the human well-being costs and benefits of protected areas, how are these distributed, and how do they vary with governance, resource tenure arrangements, and site characteristics?
7. How does the management of protected areas affect conservation beyond the boundaries of the protected area, such as through the displacement of human populations, hunting, or fishing?
8. To what extent can species be maintained over the long term within existing parks and protected areas in the absence of proactive, external management?
9. What are the impacts of alternative configurations of, and management strategies for, aquatic reserves on ecological function, species, and social well-being?
10. What are the effects of different configurations of, and management strategies for, protected areas on biological diversity across landscapes and beyond the boundaries of terrestrial protected areas?
11. What is the relative effectiveness of different methods for facilitating movement of a species among disjunct patches of its habitat?
12. What is the cost-effectiveness of different contributions to species conservation programmes such as education, captive breeding, and habitat management?
13. What are the ecosystem impacts of efforts to conserve charismatic, flagship, or umbrella species?
14. Determine if species of conservation concern use or need biological corridors, and if so, determine the minimum corridor specifications for any given species
Effectively manage and maintain terrestrial and marine protected areas
1. How can protected area networks be designed to increase carbon storage benefits and mitigate climate impacts, with these benefits as incentives to support conservation actions?
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of zoning and other governance (monitoring, emforcement, MPA effort controls) in MPAs in enhancing commercial fish stocks and the ecosystems that support them
3. What is the management cost per hectare required to manage protected areas effectively, and how does this vary with management category, geography, and threat?
4. What are the ecological consequences of existing human activities in parks and their implications for future management?
Ensure effective implementation of in-situ conservation plans
1. Determine the economic value of game and flagship species
2. What is the cost-effectiveness of different contributions to species conservation programmes such as education, captive breeding, and habitat management?
3. What are the ecosystem impacts of efforts to conserve charismatic, flagship, or umbrella species?
4. Do critical thresholds exist at which the loss of species diversity, or the loss of particular species, disrupts ecosystem functions and services, and how can these thresholds be predicted?
5. Determine the status, distribution and abundance of seagrass including important nursery areas
6. What is the trade-off for biodiversity between balancing production of natural resources from intensive management systems, such as plantation forestry and aquaculture, versus harvesting those resources from more natural ecosystems?
7. What was the condition of ecosystems before significant human disruption, and how can this knowledge be used to improve current and future management?
8. What, and where, are the significant opportunities for large-scale ecosystem restoration that benefits biodiversity and human well-being?
9. How can ecosystem management systems be designed to better emulate natural processes, notably natural disturbance regimes, and to what extent does this improve conservation effectiveness?
10. To what extent, and under what conditions, does the integration of marine, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems within conservation plans yield better outcomes than plans based on single realms?
11. What spatial pattern of human settlement (e.g., clustered vs. dispersed) has the least impact on biodiversity?
12. What is the contribution of areas that are intensively managed for production of commodities (such as food, timber, or biofuels) to conservation of biodiversity at the landscape scale?
13. Understanding of household decisions to invest in natural resource-based productive activities (e.g., agriculture, fishing, or hunting) as predictor of biodiversity impacts of household responses to environmental change?
Improve regulatory enforcement and compliance inside and outside terrestrial and marine protected areas
1. Conduct cost-benefit analyses of oil and mineral extraction vs. value of ecosystem services
2. Conduct cost-benefit analyses of tourism investments vs the value of ecosystem services
3. Determine the environmental effects and degree of impact of extractive industry sector on ecosystems and biodiversity
4. Studies on impact and tolerance to marine discharges (effluents and thermal). Sediment tolerance limits of coastal marine habitats Research to identify appropriate indicator species of environmental impacts of key marine habitats
5. Compare commercial fisheries stocks with different management regimes to assess the adequacy of current MPAs
Create better involvement of the community in terrestrial and marine protected areas
1. What are the impacts of increasing human dissociation from nature on the conservation of biodiversity?
2. How to convince the public not to opt for societal choices that are detrimental to biodiversity?
3. Investigate the role of natural resources and the environment in sustaining livelihoods
Lead Ex-situ Conservation Efforts to Maintain Sustainable Populations of Key Flora and Fauna
Efficiently and effectively manage ex-situ facilities and programmes
Ensure successful implementation of wildlife reintroduction and rehabilitation programmes
1. Whilst the existing data has been used to inform the 'Guidelines for Artificial Reefs' there are many alternative materials and configurations and designs that have yet to be assessed
2. To what extent can habitat restoration or rehabilitation compensate for loss of quantity or quality of existing species? habitat?
Sustainably Manage Fisheries & Aquaculture in Abu Dhabi
Strengthen coordination mechanisms with key stakeholders and ensure development of required fisheries & aquaculture policies & plans
1. Which management actions are most effective for ensuring the long-term survival of coral reefs in response to the combined impacts of climate change and other existing stressors?
Improve understanding and build knowledge and awareness on fisheries & aquaculture in Abu Dhabi
1. How will ocean acidification affect marine biodiversity and ecosystem function, and what measures could mitigate these effects?
2. Determine the economic value of key fish species
3. Investigate population processes and assess long-term viability of populations of key species, including game species, in the context of legal and illegal extraction
4. Determine the status, distribution and abundance and size of key commercial fish species within and outside MPAs
5. Determine the status, distribution and abundance of non-traditionally harvested species (such as sea cucumbers, seaweed etc) with an aim towards sustainable mariculture potential
6. Determine size limits for key commerical fish species
7. Identify species being captured outside of known commercial species and the level of extraction
8. Determine the level of extraction of known commercial species (including illegal, undersized and unreported catch)
9. Determine population and stock structure, and source of larval supply for key species' stocks
Enhance and enforce fisheries & aquaculture legislative and regulatory framework
Provide Sound Environmental Information And Promote Shared Responsibility
Deliver Scientifically Credible Environmental Information & Knowledge
Enhance environmental data acquisition and reliability
1. How to efficiently bridge the research-implementation gap?
Deliver comprehensive and timely environmental information to inform decision-making
1. Determine the most cost effective method for accurate retrieval and continuous monitoring of marine water quality parameters using very high resolution satellite data
Promote Environmental Education and Shared Responsibility
Educate our community on environmental sustainability
1. What drives positive environmental behaviour?
Work with the government and private sector to promote and encourage resource efficiency
Deliver specific environmental outreach and education activities targeting EAD priorities
Ensure Effective Policy and Regulations for the Environment
Strengthen Abu Dhabi?s Environmental Policy & Planning Framework
Actively contribute to the development and implementation of whole-of-government environmental policy & plans
1. How can a success-oriented distribution of environmental subsidies (e.g. in agriculture and forestry) best deliver for biodiversity?
2. Determine the effect of various land-use practices on geo-morphology and hydrology
3. Determine how social, political and economic factors affect critical habitat cover and identify those factors that have the most impact on critical habitat cover changes
4. Determine how social, political and economic factors affect key species population status and identify those factors that have the most impact on changes in key species populations
Ensure environmental considerations are timely and properly integrated into government policies and plans across different sectors
1. Investigate the rate and extent to which water systems can recover from sewage contamination
Improve the Environment Regulatory Framework and Enhance Compliance
Build an effective and best-in-class legislative and regulatory framework for the environment
Improve environmental permitting and compliance in Abu Dhabi
Ensure Effective Management of Hazardous Materials
1. Determine the source and level of pollutants (including sewage, heavy metals and industrial scale ago-chemicals) and establish the degree and distribution of pollutants from these sources across the greater landscape
2. Establish the toxicology of pollutants to humans and biodiversity
Enhance Emergency Preparedness and Effectively Respond to Environmental Emergencies and Crises
Improve Preparedness against Environmental Emergencies and Incidents Affecting Society and the Environment
Ensure Effective and Efficient Responses to Environmental Emergencies, Incidents and Crises