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The tidal freshwater reach of the Weser estuary: riverine or estuarine?
Schuchardt, B.; Haesloop, B.; Schirmer, M. (1993). The tidal freshwater reach of the Weser estuary: riverine or estuarine? Neth. J. Aquat. Ecol. 27: 215-226
In: Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishers/Netherlands Society of Aquatic Ecology: Bilthoven. ISSN 1380-8427, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Schuchardt, B.; Haesloop, B.; Schirmer, M. (1993). The tidal freshwater reach of the Weser estuary: riverine or estuarine?, in: Meire, P. et al. (Ed.) Marine and Estuarine Gradients: ECSA 21: Proceedings of the 21st Symposium of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association held in Gent, 9-14 september 1991. Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology, 27(2-4): pp. 215-226, more

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Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • Schuchardt, B.
  • Haesloop, B.
  • Schirmer, M.

Abstract
    The tidal freshwater reaches of estuaries have received little attention in ecological research although they are often heavily stressed by environmental impacts. We have thus compiled published and previously unpublished data from the Weser Estuary, Germany. Physical, chemical and biological properties are described within the tidal freshwater reach and compared with the upstream (riverine) and downstream (mixohaline) habitats. The tidal freshwater region is different from riverine sites, mainly due to tidally induced physical processes such as prolonged residence time of the water, oscillating water levels and changing current velocities and directions. Distinctions from the mixohaline situation are mainly due to differences in salinity and particulate suspended matter concentration. It is thus possible to define the tidal freshwater reach of the Weser Estuary as a separate biotope with a specific community structure. The phyto-and zooplankton is a mixture of riverine and autochthonous species whereas marine species are almost completely lacking. In the macroinvertebrate component, as well as in the fish community, marine and riverine species are combined with autochthonous species. This is probably typical for the tidal freshwater reaches of many river dominated coastal plain estuaries. We conclude that the tidal freshwater reaches are an important site of physical, chemical and biological processes which may alter riverine input considerably before it reaches the freshwater-seawater interface. For a better understanding of the ecological functioning of estuaries, it is essential to include these areas within estuarine research programmes.

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