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Mar Pollut Bull. 2010;61(4-6):149-55. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.02.008. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Principal processes within the estuarine salinity gradient: a review.

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1
Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya Embankment 1, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia. itelesh@zin.ru

Abstract

The salinity gradient is one of the main features characteristic of any estuarine ecosystem. Within this gradient in a critical salinity range of 5-8 PSU the major biotic and abiotic processes demonstrate non-linear dynamics of change in rates and directions. In estuaries, this salinity range acts as both external ecological factor and physiological characteristics of internal environment of aquatic organisms; it divides living conditions appropriate for freshwater and marine faunas, separates invertebrate communities with different osmotic regulation types, and defines the distribution range of high taxa. In this paper, the non-linearity of biotic processes within the estuarine salinity gradient is illustrated by the data on zooplankton from the Baltic estuaries. The non-tidal Baltic Sea provides a good demonstration of the above phenomena due to gradual changes of environmental factors and relatively stable isohalines. The non-linearity concept coupled with the ecosystem approach served the basis for a new definition of an estuary proposed by the authors.

PMID:
20304437
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.02.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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