Phytoplankton in Gulf of Arguin, Mauritania
The Banc d’Arguin National Park (French: Parc National du Banc d’Arguin) lies on the west coast of Mauritania between Nouakchott (South) and Nouadhibou (North, on the peninsula).
This World Heritage Site is a major breeding site for migratory birds. A wide range of species include flamingos, broad-billed sandpipers, pelicans and terns. Much of the breeding is on sand banks including the islands of Tidra, Niroumi, Nair, Kijji and Arguim.
The park lies on the boundary between the Afrotropical and Palaearctic biogeographic realms on a coast of nutrient-rich offshore waters teeming with phytoplankton, visible here as a bright green offshore bloom.
The surrounding waters are some of the richest fishing waters in western Africa and serve as nesting grounds for the entire western region.
The park’s vast expanses of mudflats provide a home for over two million migrant shorebirds from northern Europe, Siberia and Greenland.
The region’s mild climate and absence of human disturbance makes the park one of the most important sites in the world for these species.