Natural Cleaning Proficiency as a Coastal Macrodescriptor

by Anamaría Escofet, Centro de investigacion cientifica y, de education superior de ensenada, (CICESE), Ensenada, Mexico,
Juan Carlos Burgueño, Centro de investigacion cientifica y, de education superior de ensenada, (CICESE), Ensenada, Mexico,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Management in Mexico: the Baja California Experience


The hypothesis that coastal susceptibility to pollution increases at sublittoral sites where natural cleaning proficiency (NCP) is exceeded was tested comparing values of the pollution susceptibility parameter (PS) against present human activities, at eleven sites along the coast of Todos Santos bay. In most sites (six out of eleven) present activity was incompatible with NCP. Sensitivity of the fauna to pollution was studied considering bottom assemblages and NCP. Bottom assemblages expected at sites with different degrees of pollution, estimated by the infaunal tropic index (ITI), corresponded almost exactly with NCP regime. Comparative cleaning proficiency of sublittoral and intertidal was assessed at two sites close to Ejido Erendira (80 km south from Ensenada) contrasting PS values and rate of removal of standard algae from the adjacent beaches. Sublittoral cleaning proficiency was not a good predictor of intertidal cleaning proficiency, suggesting that both descriptors should be considered, and evaluated separately, in coastal projects. It is concluded that NCP regime, as a good predictor of the response of coastal systems to man-made inputs, deserves to be considered prior to any major project, or mitigation plan.

Subject Headings: Ecological restoration | Pollution | Littoral zones | Coastal management | Comparative studies | Beaches | Field tests | United States | North America | Washington | Oregon

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