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Issue 1, 2010
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Monitoring of oxygen condition in the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, Portugal

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Dissolved oxygen (DO) is one of the most important environmental variables of water quality, especially for marine life. Consequently, oxygen is one of the Chemical Quality Elements required for the implementation of European Union Water Framework Directive. This study uses the example of the Ria Formosa, a meso-tidal lagoon on the south coast of Portugal to demonstrate how monitoring of water quality for coastal waters must be well designed to identify symptoms of episodic hypoxia. New data from the western end of the Ria Formosa were compared to values in a database of historical data and in the published literature to identify long-term trends. The dissolved oxygen concentration values in the database and in the literature were generally higher than those found in this study, where episodic hypoxia was observed during the summer. Analysis of the database showed that the discrepancy was probably related with the time and the sites where the samples had been collected, rather than a long-term trend. The most problematic situations were within the inner lagoon near the city of Faro, where episodic hypoxia (<2 mg dm−3 DO) occurred regularly in the early morning. These results emphasise the need for a balanced sampling strategy for oxygen monitoring which includes all periods of the day and night, as well as a representative range of sites throughout the lagoon. Such a strategy would provide adequate data to apply management measures to reduce the risk of more persistent hypoxia that would impact on the ecological, economic and leisure uses of this important natural resource.

Graphical abstract: Monitoring of oxygen condition in the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, Portugal

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Article information

15 Jul 2009
03 Nov 2009
First published
25 Nov 2009

J. Environ. Monit., 2010,12, 355-360
Article type

Monitoring of oxygen condition in the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, Portugal

A. Newton, P. S. Oliveira, J. D. Icely and P. A. Foster, J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 355
DOI: 10.1039/B914015H

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