Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No S1 (2010)

Estuary-ria exchange of cadmium, lead and zinc in the coastal system of the Ria of Vigo (NW Iberian Peninsula)

Ricardo Prego
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain

Antonio Cobelo-García
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain

Juan Santos-Echeandía
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain

Maite de Castro
EPhysLab, Facultad de Ciencias, University of Vigo, Spain

Natalia Ospina-Alvarez
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain

Mar García-Pérez
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Spain


Little research has been done on the land-sea exchange of trace elements, which is particularly applicable to ria coasts. In particular, trace metal enrichment in the inner part of the Ria of Vigo (the San Simon Inlet) has been observed from sediment studies but there is no information about Cd, Pb and Zn fluxes through the Rande Strait, which is the natural boundary of the estuary-ria water exchange. In order to assess metal exchanges in a ria-type system, six sampling cruises on board the R/V Mytilus (IIM-CSIC) were carried out. Water column profiles of salinity, temperature and tidal currents were obtained every 30 min. The water column for dissolved and particulate metals was sampled every two hours over a complete tidal cycle. Dissolved metal concentrations were 0.01–0.18 nM for Cd, 0.5-1.9 nM for Pb and 4-44 nM for Zn. Compared with Zn (16±12%) and especially with Cd (5.4±5.0%), particulate metal represented a significant fraction of the total concentration for Pb (41±21%). Net fluxes of dissolved Cd and Zn are higher than in the particulate phase, whereas for Pb an inverse situation was observed. The net metal exchange in the Vigo estuary-ria environment was not seasonally controlled. Dissolved Cd and Pb were driven by tidal ranges and particulate Pb by the Oitavén River flow. On the other hand, Zn did not show a defined trend. The budgets obtained for the Ria of Vigo, with the exception of Pb, were one or two orders of magnitude lower than those measured in other large European estuaries.


dissolved metals; particulate metals; land-sea exchange; flux; budget; estuary; Ria; Spain

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