Tides, tidal currents and their effects on the intertidal ecosystem of the southern bay, Inhaca Island, Mozambique
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Sediment characteristics and tidal currents were studied in the 1500 ha intertidal area south of Inhaca Island,Mozambique. The tide is semi-diurnal with a range at spring of about 3 m. The area connects directly to the oceanthrough the Ponta Torres Strait and (indirectly) through several narrow tidal channels ending up in Maputo Bay.Velocities of up to 0.75 m s-1 were measured in the Ponta Torres strait. After Low Water, Indian ocean water startsentering the tidal flats, while entrance from the Maputo Bay side is delayed by one to several hours. With onlyone tide gauge and one current meter at hand, we found indications of a higher mean sea level on the oceanic side(probably due to ocean wave set up) and a mean flow in the Ponta Torres Strait directed towards Maputo Bay. Astorm from the SW had a particularly strong influence on the sea level of Maputo Bay, and for a period of a fewdays the current flowed constantly towards Maputo Bay. Measurements in the innermost Saco channel indicatedhigher velocities during ebb than during flood. The resulting residual current will increase sedimentation in the bay,a process which is confirmed by aerial photographs and could be linked to the sanding of the coral reefs and themangrove extension in the area. Extensive sandbanks are situated around both inlets as a result of the higher currentvelocities in these areas, thereby inhibiting the settlement of finer sediments and organic matter. Where the twoflows meet, formation of mudflats and seagrass beds are favoured. Mudflats are found mainly below High WaterNeap, exposed only during spring tides. This longer inundation period favours the settlement of finer material andorganic matter. The area and location of the substrates have great influence on the richness and abundance of thebenthic fauna, as grainsize and organic matter have been correlated with richness and abundance in other studies.
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- Tides, tidal currents and their effects on the intertidal ecosystem of the southern bay, Inhaca Island, Mozambique
Volume 428, Issue 1 , pp 187-196
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- 1. Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidade Eduardo Monlane, Maputo, CP, 257, Mozambique
- 3. Dpartment of Oceanography, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, 460 40530, Sweden
- 4. Departamento de Fisica, Universidade Eduardo mondlane, Maputo, CP, 257, Mozambique