The Yucatan Current has received very little biological or oceanographic attention in the past, but oceanographers from Cuba, Mexico, and the United States are changing that. They have assembled a multidisciplinary, multinational dataset and are beginning a detailed examination of the current, which has a large impact on all three countries. A series of theoretical and applied studies are using historical infrared and ocean color satellite data and some ship data.
In general, western boundaries of large ocean gyres have intense currents along continental margins, and important physical and biological processes take place in such regions. In the northwest Caribbean Sea, such an intense flow is funneled through a constriction known as the Yucatan Strait, between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba (see Figure 1, inset).