The main environmental features of the Gulf of Batabano´ , Cuba, Caribbean, were investigated through the analyses of surface sediments collected at 23 sites. In order to highlight the potential threats affecting the sedimentary compartment of this area, samples were analysed for: granulometry, mineralogy, heavy metals concentration (As, Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn), organic carbon, total nitrogen and radionuclides. Findings were compared with published data and ‘‘grey’’ literature. Results showed: granulometric homogeneity and a widespread carbonatic condition all over the gulf, probably due to stable bathymetry and lack of terrigenous input (except for the La Coloma basin); a rather pristine environment for what concerns heavy metals pollution, except for La Coloma where a large arsenic input was recorded; very low levels of natural and artificial radioactivity; a relevant quantity of sedimentary organic matter, providing biota with useful substrate for feeding and enhancing the food-web development while indirectly supplying lobster fisheries. Combined data highlighted the impact of the Dique Sur in reducing terrigenous input in the coastal area. Future studies should focus on dating of sediment cores for identifying and quantifying the changes acting in the gulf and on investigating the origins of the large arsenic input to La Coloma.
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