An overview of the Gulf of Batabanó (Cuba): Environmental features as revealed by surface sediment characterisation

Carlos M. Alonso-Hernández, Fabio Conte, Cristina Misic, Mattia Barsanti, Miguel Gómez-Batista, Misael Díaz-Asencio, Anabella Covazzi-Harriague, Federica G. Pannacciulli

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The main environmental features of the Gulf of Batabanó, Cuba, Caribbean, were investigated through the analyses of surface sediments collected at 23 sites. In order to highlight the potential threats affecting the sedimentary compartment of this area, samples were analysed for: granulometry, mineralogy, heavy metals concentration (As, Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn), organic carbon, total nitrogen and radionuclides. Findings were compared with published data and "grey" literature. Results showed: granulometric homogeneity and a widespread carbonatic condition all over the gulf, probably due to stable bathymetry and lack of terrigenous input (except for the La Coloma basin); a rather pristine environment for what concerns heavy metals pollution, except for La Coloma where a large arsenic input was recorded; very low levels of natural and artificial radioactivity; a relevant quantity of sedimentary organic matter, providing biota with useful substrate for feeding and enhancing the food-web development while indirectly supplying lobster fisheries. Combined data highlighted the impact of the Dique Sur in reducing terrigenous input in the coastal area. Future studies should focus on dating of sediment cores for identifying and quantifying the changes acting in the gulf and on investigating the origins of the large arsenic input to La Coloma. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749 - 757
Number of pages9
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology

Cite this

Alonso-Hernández, C. M., Conte, F., Misic, C., Barsanti, M., Gómez-Batista, M., Díaz-Asencio, M., ... Pannacciulli, F. G. (2011). An overview of the Gulf of Batabanó (Cuba): Environmental features as revealed by surface sediment characterisation. Continental Shelf Research, 31(7-8), 749 - 757.