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Estero de Yucalpeten
The Yucalpeten Estuary is located in the North corner of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. The Chelem Lagoon is located in the estuary. The area is characterized by high evaporation and low precipitation, with no rivers because it is a carstic zone. However, Yucalpeten and in particular the Chelem Lagoon has a strong anthropogenic influence and it does receive wastewaters coming from industrial complexes, such as the Yucalpeten Port and the city of Progreso, human settlements, a few spring waters and extraordinary intakes of fresh water like hurricane Gilbert in September 1988.
Salinity levels fluctuated between 10 ppt after Gilberto and 65 ppt during low level water season in an area of the Chelem that is now semi-isolated because of the poorly planned Merida-Progreso road project. Normally, the lagoon is classified as marine-hypersalyne with salinity ranging from 32 to 48 ppt. However, Chelem is also considered an anti- estuary lagoon since salinity increases towards the interior, has no fresh water influx and high evaporation.
The estuary is under constant pressure from human settlements, fishermen’s shelters, industrial plants and tourist projects that translate into coastal development and sub-ground residual discharges that end their journey in coastal waters and favor potential eutrophication processes.
Coordinates: 21.28° N 89.73° W
Selected Characteristics: (Castañeda and Contreras, 2001)
Surface Area: 15 km2
Average Depth: 1.4 m
Average Salinity: 32 - 48 ppt
Castañeda L.O. and F.E. Contreras. 2001. Serie: Bibliografia Comentada sobre ecosistemas costeros mexicanos 2001. Centro de Documentacion Ecosistemas Litorales Mexicanos. Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa, Division C. B. S. Depto. de Hidrologia. Publicacion electronica (CD). ISBN:970-654-912-9. Mexico, D.F.
Ortegon-Aznar, I., I. Sanchez-Molina, and R. H. Casanova Cetz. 2009. The distribution of marine algae in a coastal lagoon, northern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Neotropical Biology and Conservation 4: 99-105.
Keywords: Estuary, Lagoon, Eutrophication, Marine-hypersalyne, Hurricane Gilberto, Anthropogenic influence, Carstic zone, Anti-estuary,
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