Even though seaweeds have been recognized as key players in the ocean-to-atmosphere transfer of iodine in other parts of the world, there is a complete lack of knowledge about iodine accumulation in seaweeds of the Arabian Gulf. Similarly, very little is known about fluorine in seaweeds, anywhere in the world. Given that the Arabian Gulf is of particular interest due to being an extreme environment, featuring some of the highest temperatures and salinities observed in any marine water body worldwide, this study endeavoured to conduct a preliminary survey of iodine and fluorine levels in 11 of the most common seaweed species in the region, supported by morphological and molecular (DNA barcode)-based identification. Iodine was determined by inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, while ion chromatography was employed for analysis of fluoride. Species surveyed included Iyengaria stellata, Padina boergesenii, Chondria dasyphylla, Dictyota linearis, Colpomenia sinuosa, Feldmannia sp, Codium papillatum, Sargassum ilicifolium, S. ilicifolium var. acaraeocarpum, S. asperifolium and S. aquifolium. The findings of Sargassum ilicifolium and S. ilicifolium var. acaraeocarpum reported here are new records both for Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf.
We are grateful to the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) for PhD funding for Hanan Al-Adilah. We are thankful the sequencing facility in Kuwait University (Project # GS01/02) and Department of Marine Sciences for using their facilities and labs. We would equally like to thank the UK Natural Environment Research Council for their support to FCK (program Oceans 2025 – WP 4.5 and grants NE/D521522/1 and NE/J023094/1). This work also received support from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland pooling initiative. MASTS is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions.