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Controls on sediment transport over coral reefs off southwest Puerto Rico: Seasonal patterns and Hurricane Maria

June 4, 2019

Guánica Bay in southwest Puerto Rico is highly turbid and has some of the highest PCB concentrations in the USA. To investigate how and to what extent the bay waters influence coral reef ecosystem health along the coastline, 6 months of hydrodynamic data were collected at 8 sites on the insular shelf. Bed shear stresses were primarily driven by waves and were weakest at the site closest to La Parguera, located downcoast to the west. Due to the prevailing westward shelf currents, suspended particulate material (SPM) exiting the bay likely settles out at these lower energy sites. We postulate the ecosystem in this area was adversely affected immediately after the hurricane because (1) the source concentration of SPM and PCBs in the bay was greatly increased, and (2) regional waves in the months after the hurricane season were less energetic and, thus, less frequently mobilized and flushed the material.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Controls on sediment transport over coral reefs off southwest Puerto Rico: Seasonal patterns and Hurricane Maria
DOI 10.1142/9789811204487_0079
Authors Olivia Cheriton, Curt D. Storlazzi, Kurt J. Rosenberger, Clark Sherman
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70204492
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center