Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 335–345 | Cite as

Physical and chemical limnology of a wind-swept tropical highland reservoir

  • Martin Merino-IbarraEmail author
  • Emiliano Monroy-Ríos
  • Gloria Vilaclara
  • Fermin S. Castillo
  • Margarita E. Gallegos
  • Jorge Ramírez-Zierold


Valle de Bravo (VB) is a tropical reservoir located (19°21′30″ N, 100°11′00″ W) in the highlands of Mexico. The reservoir is daily swept by strong (7.4 m s−1 mean speed) diurnal (12:00–19:00 h) winds that blow along its two main arms. As expected from its fetch (6.9 km) and its depth (21.1 m mean), the reservoir behaves as a warm monomictic water body. During 2001, VB was stratified from February to October, and well mixed from November to January. Its mean temperature was 19.9°C; the maximum found was 23.8°C in the epilimnion, while a minimum of 17.8°C was registered during mixing. VB exhibited a thermal regime similar to other water bodies of the Mexican tropical highlands, except for a steady increase of its hypolimnetic temperature during stratification, which is attributed to entrainment of epilimnetic water into the hypolimnion. During stratification, the hypolimnion was anoxic, while the whole water column remained under-saturated (60%) during mixing. The flushing time is 2.2 years. Mineralization and total alkalinity are low, which allows strong changes in pH. Ammonia remained low (2.4 μmol l−1 mean) in the epilimnion, but reached up to 60 μmol l−1 in the hypolimnion. Soluble reactive phosphorous had a mean of 0.28 μmol l−1 in the epilimnion and a mean of 1.25 μmol l−1 in the hypolimnion. Nitrate exhibited maxima (up to 21 μmol l−1) during mixing, and also in the metalimnion (2 μmol l−1) during stratification. Low dissolved inorganic nitrogen indicated nitrogen limitation during stratification. Eutrophication is an emerging problem in VB, where cyanobacteria dominate during stratification. At VB chlorophyll a is low during mixing (mean of 9 μg l−1), and high during stratification (mean 21 μg l−1), when blooms (up to 88 μg l−1) are frequent. This pattern is similar to that found in other eutrophic tropical water bodies. We propose that in VB the wind regime causes vertical displacements of the thermocline (0.58–1.10 m hr−1) and boundary mixing, enhancing the productivity during the stratification period in this tropical reservoir.


Eutrophication Internal waves Nutrients Valle de Bravo Vertical flow Water quality 



We thank the Chemical Analyses Laboratory (Ma. Aurora Armienta, Alejandra Aguayo, Nora Ceniceros, and Olivia Cruz), Geophysical Institute, UNAM for the major ions determinations, and Martha Gaytan for her technical support. This article was accomplished with financial support from research projects IN-207702 funded by UNAM-PAPIIT and SEMARNAT-CONACYT C01-1125 to M. Merino.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Merino-Ibarra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emiliano Monroy-Ríos
    • 2
  • Gloria Vilaclara
    • 3
  • Fermin S. Castillo
    • 1
  • Margarita E. Gallegos
    • 4
  • Jorge Ramírez-Zierold
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxicoMéxico
  2. 2.Posgrado en Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxicoMéxico
  3. 3.FES-Iztacala, Limnología TropicalUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoTlalnepantla,México
  4. 4.Departamento de HidrobiologíaUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana-IztapalapaMéxico DFMéxico

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