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Latin american journal of aquatic research

On-line version ISSN 0718-560X


GIRALDO, Alan; RODRIGUEZ-RUBIO, Efraín  and  ZAPATA, Fernando. Oceanographic conditions off Gorgona Island, eastern tropical Pacific of Colombia. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. [online]. 2008, vol.36, n.1, pp.121-128. ISSN 0718-560X.

The near shore zone of Gorgona Island is a protected marine area located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) of Colombia. Although this is home to one of the most developed coral reefs in the ETP, the characteristics of the local oceanographic conditions at the surface and their spatial and temporal variability have been poorly studied. In order to increase the information on temperature and salinity variability off Gorgona Island, systematic records of these variables were made during four periods (September 2005, December 2005, March 2006, June 2006). Furthermore, continuous record temperature senors were installed at 15 m depth on the eastern and western sides of the island and the local surface circulation pattern was monitored in June 2006 and February 2007 using a current profiler (AWAC-ADCP). Two contrasting periods were identified in the oceanographic conditions of the surface layer (0-50 m): a warmer and low salinity period between May and December (thermocline depth 47 m), and a colder and high salinity period between January and April (thermocline depth 7.5 m). Local upwelling events were not observed and the results suggest a strong influence of mesoscale processes (Panama bight upwelling) on the temporal variability of the coastal oceanographic conditions in the study area. Furthermore, the spatial variability seems to be more associated with regional climatic processes (precipitation patterns) and the proximity of Gorgona Island to the Patia-Sanquianga River delta.

Keywords : temperature; salinity; oceanography; Gorgona Island; Colombia; Eastern Tropical Pacific.

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