Pathways and hydrography in the mesoamerican barrier reef system part 1 : circulation
Periodo de realización: 2015/06/01 al 2015/01/01
Tipo: Artículo científico
Lugar(es) de estudio: Chetumal, Q.R., Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Caribbean Sea, Chetumal, Q.R., Mexico
Resumen: "Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements and surface drifters released from two oceanographic cruises conducted during March 2006 and January/February 2007 are used to investigate the circulation off the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). We show that the MBRS circulation can be divided into two distinct regimes, a northern region dominated by the strong, northward-flowing Yucatan Current, and a southern region with weaker southward coastal currents and the presence of the Honduras Gyre. The latitude of impingement of the Cayman Current onto the coastline varies with time, and creates a third region, which acts as a boundary between the northern and southern circulation regimes. This circulation pattern yields two zones in terms of dispersal, with planktonic propagules in the northern region being rapidly exported to the north, whereas plankton in the southern and impingement regions may be retained locally or regionally. The latitude of the impingement region shifts interannually and intra-annually up to 3° in latitude. Sub-mesoscale features are observed in association with topography, e.g., flow bifurcation around Cozumel Island, flow wake north of Chinchorro Bank and separation of flow from the coast just north of Bahia de la Ascencion. This third feature is evident as cyclonic recirculation in coastal waters, which we call the Ascencion-Cozumel Coastal Eddy. An understanding of the implications of these different circulation regimes on water mass distributions, population connectivity, and the fate of land-based pollutants in the MBRS is critically important to better inform science-based resource management and conservation plans for the MBRS coral reefs."