The Cananéia-Iguape system, SE Brazil, consists of a complex of lagoonal channels, located in a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve. Nevertheless, important environmental changes have occurred in approximately the last 150 yrs due to the opening of an artificial channel, the Valo Grande, connecting the Ribeira de Iguape River to the lagoonal system. Our objective is to assess the historical record of the uppermost layers of the sedimentary column of the lagoonal system in order to determine the history of environmental changes caused by the opening of the artificial channel. In this sense, an integrated geochemical-faunal approach is used. The environmental changes led significant modifications in salinity, in changes of the depositional patterns of sediments and foraminiferal assemblages (including periods of defaunation), and, more drastically, in the input of heavy metals to the coastal environment. The concentrations Pb in the core analyzed here were up to two times higher than the values measured in contaminated sediments from the Santos estuary, the most industrialized coastal zone in Brazil.
Anthropogenic influence; Lagoon; Sedimentation; SE Brazil