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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


VALDES, JORGE et al. Seasonal variability of cadmium in a coastal upwelling system off northern Chile (Mejillones bay, 23° S). Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2006, vol.79, n.4, pp.517-535. ISSN 0716-078X.

Total and dissolved cadmium were measured from surface to 100 m water depth, between June 2002 and April 2003, in Mejillones bay. Total and dissolved cadmium range concentration was 0.41-10.7 and 0.08-1.61 nM, respectively. Cadmium profiles and water structure were used to study seasonal variability patterns of this metal in this upwelling system. Oceanographic conditions during this period correspond to a normal (non-El Niño) year. Water masses present in this bay correspond to subantartic superficial water, subtropical superficial water and Equatorial subsuperficial water with different degree of mixture and stratification during sampling period. Cadmium profiles showed a classic nutrient-type distribution. Whereas some differences in this profiles could be attributed to a water masses mixing condition into the bay. Multivariate analysis indicates that temporal cadmium variations were associated with chlorophyll-a concentration and temperature fluctuation, indicating that, at this temporal resolution, phytoplanktonic biomass production is the principal factor controlling cadmium concentration in surface waters of Mejillones bay. By other hand, in spite of cadmium being a redox-sensitive metal, any significant influence of dissolved oxygen on this metal were founded, thus microxic condition of bottom water of Mejillones bay is not the principal factor that promotes cadmium flux to the sediments. Cd/PO4 ratio is in agreement with normal values reported for the Chilean coast, and its low values, compared with the northeast Pacific coast, can be explained either by the fact that PO4 is more efficiently removed than cadmium from the surface layer, or that cadmium remineralization is occurring much faster than in the case of PO4

Keywords : cadmium; upwelling system; Mejillones; Chile.

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