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

Alberto Basset, Enrico Barbone, Michael Elliott, Bai-Lian Li, Sven Jorgensen, Paloma Lucena-Moya, Isabel Pardo, David Mouillot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    73 Citations (Scopus)

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-16
    Number of pages12
    JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
    Volume132
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    ecotones
    ecotone
    ecosystems
    ecosystem
    water
    ecological theory
    urban development
    harbors (waterways)
    ria
    industrialization
    industrial development
    fjord
    lagoon
    estuaries
    estuary
    biodiversity
    economics
    productivity

    Cite this

    Basset, Alberto ; Barbone, Enrico ; Elliott, Michael ; Li, Bai-Lian ; Jorgensen, Sven ; Lucena-Moya, Paloma ; Pardo, Isabel ; Mouillot, David. / A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: Fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems. In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 2013 ; Vol. 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.",
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    author = "Alberto Basset and Enrico Barbone and Michael Elliott and Bai-Lian Li and Sven Jorgensen and Paloma Lucena-Moya and Isabel Pardo and David Mouillot",
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    Basset, A, Barbone, E, Elliott, M, Li, B-L, Jorgensen, S, Lucena-Moya, P, Pardo, I & Mouillot, D 2013, 'A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: Fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 132, pp. 5-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2012.04.012

    A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: Fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems. / Basset, Alberto; Barbone, Enrico; Elliott, Michael; Li, Bai-Lian; Jorgensen, Sven; Lucena-Moya, Paloma; Pardo, Isabel; Mouillot, David.

    In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 132, 2013, p. 5-16.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - A unifying approach to understanding transitional waters: Fundamental properties emerging from ecotone ecosystems

    AU - Basset, Alberto

    AU - Barbone, Enrico

    AU - Elliott, Michael

    AU - Li, Bai-Lian

    AU - Jorgensen, Sven

    AU - Lucena-Moya, Paloma

    AU - Pardo, Isabel

    AU - Mouillot, David

    PY - 2013

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    AB - 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.

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    KW - ecotone concept

    KW - landscape ecology

    KW - climate change.

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