Mar Menor is separating from the Mediterranean Sea

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The Mar Menor is now separating itself from the Mediterranean Sea, and increasingly faster. It was a team of researchers who studied that area, and revealed to El País their concerns about a possible disappearance of that link.

According to satellite images collected by the group of researchers from the Murciano Institute for Agricultural Research and Development and Food, the main channel connecting both seas, decreased by about 80%. The images, captured by a marine drone, also concluded that the channel is only 25 centimeters deep.

The team also warns that a possible disappearance of this channel, can put in question the temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and also the turbidity of the future of that lagoon. One of the investigators, Manuel Erena, said in a statement to the newspaper that “since 2009, the main passage of the Mar Menor (” Las Encañizadas “) has gone from a size of 540 meters to 120 meters”, accentuating mainly in the last two years.

Already about depth, the researcher said that it went from 70 to only 25 centimeters.

The contact between these seas is through “La Manga”, this being the strip of land that separates the Mar Menor from the Mediterranean, and four sheets of water. And it is this barrier, about 22 kilometers long and 100 meters wide, which allows contact between these seas, such as the exchange of nutrients and marine biodiversity. In addition, we have witnessed the growth of invasive algae, resulting from the increased use of fertilizers. And these end up in the Mar Menor. This growth of organic matter and some inorganic, eventually spread through the water and prevent in this way the entrance as well as light trapping to areas of greater depth. “Everything that is under 1.5 meters dies”, said the researcher.

This team has been studying this lagoon since May of this year, together with other Spanish and German universities. The group concluded that “ecological status, its complexity and its ability to defend itself against external aggression depends entirely on its restricted connection to the adjacent sea”, according to Ángel Pérez-Ruzafa, a professor of ecology at the University of Murcia.

Thus, “if this link reduces too much, the ponds lose their productivity and biological structure”, he said.

However, the same expert still hopes that the Mar Menor will escape a label of “dead sea”, given its “hydrodynamic and ecological singularities” that allow it to have a “great capacity for self-regulation and recovery”. Its existence will depend on “communications with the Mediterranean Sea”, and “not be excessive, but not completely lost”.

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