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Estuarine benthic ecology: a European perspective
McLusky, D.S. (1999). Estuarine benthic ecology: a European perspective. Aust. J. Ecol. 24: 303-311
In: Australian journal of ecology. Blackwell Scientific Publications: Oxford; London; Edinburgh; Melbourne. ISSN 0307-692X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Benthos; Brackishwater ecology; Estuaries; International cooperation; Pollution control; Research programmes; Shallow water; Europe [Marine Regions]; Brackish water

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  • McLusky, D.S.

Abstract
    The study of benthic ecology within European estuaries is discussed. The history of estuarine science, and the definition of an estuary is briefly reviewed. Estuarine benthic ecology is considered with regard to its geographical, economic and political context. It is shown that much recent study has been motivated by attempts to clean up estuaries, which were polluted after decades, or even centuries of pollution. Much has been achieved in the control of pollution, and many estuaries show clear signs of recovery. Particular focus has been on the estuaries entering the North Sea, with the realization that it is not the North Sea that is polluted, but its estuaries. The scientific appraisal of the benthos of estuaries has been particularly assisted by the ecosystem approach, which has both aided our understanding of their function as well as answering some of the questions posed by the impact of mankind. The European Union is identified as a powerful factor in benthic ecology, either through legislation or through the encouragement of collaborative programs, some of which have been particularly important in identifying common factors across a wide geographical spread of estuaries. It is concluded that in general estuaries have got cleaner, but that many problems remain, ranging from eutrophication through to sea-level change. The future of estuarine benthic ecology lies in meeting the new challenges.

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