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Export of materials along a tidal river channel that links a coastal lagoon to the adjacent sea

Intratidal variability and flux of salt, chlorophyll-a and suspended materials were evaluated in a shallow tropical tidal channel linking a coastal lagoon to the western Gulf of Mexico. Velocity, temperature and conductivity were used to calculate the fluxes. Data were recorded during three tidal velocity cycles (tvc) under extreme river discharge conditions. Chlorophyll-a and suspended materials were determined below the surface. In both seasons (dry and rainy), the flow was ebb-dominated and with longer duration than when in flood. Maximum current velocities were 0.30 m s-1 in May (dry season) and 0.60 m s-1 in September (rainy season). In the dry season the mean chlorophyll-a export was of 7.56 Kg over tvc while the import was of 3.32 Kg. In the rainy season mean export (47.3 Kg) was 6 times greater than the import (7.93 Kg over tvc). Phytoplankton was dominated by organisms of marine origin. The mean of exported, suspended materials in the rainy season (111.3 Kg) was 4.6 times greater (859 Kg) than that in the dry season (184.7 Kg over tvc). Tidal velocity asymmetry is an effective mechanism of exportation, introducing relatively warm and saltier water into the river through the tidal channel.

Tidal channel; Intertidal variability; Salt; Chlorophyll-a; Suspended materials; Gulf of México

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