A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems

Basset, Alberto, Barbone, Enrico, Elliott, Michael, Li, Bai-Lian, Jorgensen, Sven Eric, Lucena-Moya, Paloma, Pardo, Isabel, and Mouillot, David (2013) A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 132. pp. 5-16.

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Abstract

Estuaries, rias, fjords and lagoons (collectively called transitional waters, TW) are highly important ecosystems both for their high productivity but also as sites of urban and industrial development, supporting many major cities and ports. Increasingly they are accepted as transitional environments and in Europe this term has been given legal and management importance; indeed, in some cases this has led to decisions with high economic repercussions. We have thus revisited the fundamental properties and paradigms of these systems in the light of recent ecological theory. The analysis has produced a unifying approach to transitional waters, by adopting and expanding the concept of ecotone to whole ecosystems, rather than ecosystem boundaries. Furthermore we have addressed the paradoxes related to (1) the gradients concerning variability and stability in the system, (2) the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, as well as (3) the response and resilience of the system to anthropogenic stressors. We conclude that the term Transitional Waters is not merely a legal convenience or that the TW are merely an interface, with positive and negative characteristics, but ecological systems in their own right. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item ID: 32998
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: transitional waters, ecotone concept, landscape ecology, climate change
Funders: CIRCLE-MED, WISER (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery), European Union
Projects and Grants: European Union: 7th 531 Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change) 532 (226273)
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 10:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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