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Laguna La Mancha
La Mancha is located in the coastal plains of the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, with a surface area of 1,567 square km. Hydrologically, it presents three areas: The north body which has partial communication with the marine waters of the gulf through an ephemeral sand barrier that usually closes during the characteristic “Nortes” or North winds season. A middle area known as El Crucero, considered a mixing zone and characterized by its narrowness. Finally, a south body marked by a strong continental influence given by El Caño Grande, a permanent stream. The opening and closing of the barrier has a great influence in the depth and water levels of the lagoon. Low productivity levels, turbid water and low water volume are characteristic of prolonged closings. The barrier action also influences salinity levels and temperatures, which can range from 5.7 to 17.1 parts per thousand and 17 to 32 degrees Celsius, respectively, during long closings, and reach salinities up to 35 parts per thousand during openings.
The presence of copepods is typical in coastal lagoons, and in La Mancha, calanoid copepods are a critical part of its ecosystem, with species such as Acartia tonsa and Tornatus setacaudatus constituting two thirds of the lagoon’s plankton biomass. The opening of the barrier along with the presence or absence of adult predators regulate the seasonal variation of these small crustaceans. Along with calanoid copepods, the southern body of La Mancha also hosts the jellyfish Chrysaora quinquecirrha, which is considered a real nuisance by fishermen and tourists due to their sudden appearances and the poignant discharge of stinging nematocysts that can affect the human skin.
Coordinates: 19.63° N 96.42° W
Selected Characteristics: (Castañeda and Contreras, 2001)
Surface Area: 2 km2
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.
Legaria, L. and Vasquez G. 2001 Dinámica de la comunidad fitoplanctónica y su relación con parámetros fisicoquímicos en la laguna La Mancha, municipio de Actopan, Veracruz, México. Instituto de Ecologia. A.C. Publicacion electronica (Internet).
Ruiz, M.G. 2002. Diversidad de macroinvertebrados epibiontes de raices de mangle rojo (Rhizophora mangle L.) en la Laguna de La Mancha, Veracruz, Mexico. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Unidad Academica Mazatlan, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia. Publicacion electronica (Internet).
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia
XV Congreso Mexicano de Botánica
Keywords: Sand barrier, Calanoid copepod, Jellyfish, Lagoon
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