Synoptic description of site:
Flat sheltered platform closely linked to the deepwater environment, supporting a unique set of supratidal to subtidal habitats.
Extensive description of site:
Located in Pico Island from the westernmost part of “Baía das Lajes do Pico” to “Ponta da Queimada, this is a flat sheltered platform closely linked to the deepwater environment, supporting a unique set of intertidal and subtidal habitats. The area contains a variety of intertidal and sublittoral rocky and sandy habitats including marshland, a large system of intertidal pools and gullies, large stretches of basaltic bedrock, boulder areas, and sandy bottoms. The sheltered bay is confined by the deep-water habitats typical of the steep south coast of Pico.
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Description of fauna and flora:
Algae species include Enteromorpha linza, Ulva rigida, Chondracanthus acicularis, Chaetomorpha linum and Asparagopsis armata. It is considered as one of the sites in the archipelago with a higher number of marine species.
The local population is campaigning for a protection against the sea waves during winter storms. This protection may have a strong impact on the pristiness of the area. Impact by local fishermen is low.
This site has a small harbour as well as some good local facilities. Lajes do Pico can take advantage of the proximity of the University facilities at Faial island. Pico island is served by regular flights and daily maritime connections with Faial island.
Commitment and ongoing research:
There is a strong effort in studying and defending the natural interest of the area conducted by the University of the Azores. Several published papers and reports dealing with biodiversity (species lists, ecology), physiography and geomorphology of coastal lagoons have resulted from a series of research programmes.
Santos et al., 1995. Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 5: 311-354.; Morton et al., 1998; and references therein); http://www.horta.uac.pt/Species
General bibliography: Santos et al., 1995. Aquat. Conserv. Fresh. Mar. Ecos. 5: 311-354.