Study Sites

General Description of the Ria Formosa barrier island system

The Ria Formosa barrier island system is roughly triangular in shape, with a total extension of about 55 km, and lies up to 6 km from mainland (in the vicinity of Cape Santa Maria). The barrier system presently comprises five islands (Barreta Island, Culatra Island, Armona Island, Tavira Island, Cabanas Island) and two peninsulas (Ancão Peninsula and Cacela Peninsula), separated by six tidal inlets. The barrier system is extremely dynamic which has been related variously to tidal inlet evolution, shoreline evolution, longshore drift, overwash processes, dune formation, backbarrier processes and artificial nourishment actions. The western flank of the Ria Formosa, facing SW, typically has one tidal inlet, Ancão Inlet, which is a small migrating inlet. The eastern flank, facing SE, currently contains five inlets, although the number of inlets varies over time.

Figure: Location of Ria Formosa barriers (P.=Peninsula; I.=Island), tidal inlets (names in italic), mainland cities (underlined) and bathymetry of the adjacent continental shelf (in meters). Wave rose positioned on the Faro buoy location, based in data from Costa et al. (2001).
In the following map the location of the four study sites of EVREST are indicated.