Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1-9

Date: Latest Version

Estuaries: Anthropogenic Impacts

  • Michael J. KennishAffiliated with Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University Email author 


Anthropogenic impacts are defined as marked adverse effects of human activities on estuarine environments (Kennish 2015a).


Estuaries are coastal environments with exceptional ecological, recreational, and commercial value (Day et al. 2012; Kennish 2015a). They provide a wide array of ecosystem services, including diverse habitats (e.g., open waters, submerged aquatic vegetation, unvegetated bottom sediments, tidal flats and creeks, and fringing wetlands) that serve as nursery, feeding, and refuge areas for numerous estuarine, marine, and terrestrial organisms. The rich food supply in estuaries supports many biotic communities. Numerous marine species of recreational and commercial importance utilize estuaries during their life; for example, these coastal systems play a significant role in the production of marine fisheries. Adjoining wetland habitats are particularly important in the life history of ...

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