The Proceedings of the ECSA 21 symposium on Marine and Estuarine Gradients are reviewed. It is emphasised that this is probably the first time that a full set of papers on the tidal freshwater sections of estuaries has appeared. There is however some ambiguity in the terminology applied to such waters, and a more consistent terminology is proposed. In particular the estuary is defined as reaching upstream as far as the tidal limit, irrespective of salinity.
A wide variety of gradients within estuaries and coastal waters are considered, but it is apparent that the crucial spatial gradients are based on salinity, oxygen and turbidity, and that many other gradients are co-variables with these parameters. Temperature is also important for temporal gradients.