Physical Ecosystem Engineers and the Functioning of Estuaries and Coasts

Gutie_rrez, J.L. et al.

Publication Date:

A great diversity of organisms modify the physical structure of estuarine and coastal environments. These physical ecosystem engineers – particularly, dune and marsh plants, mangroves, seagrasses, kelps, reef-forming corals and bivalves, burrowing crustaceans and infauna – often have substantive functional impacts over large areas and across distinct geographic regions. Here we use a general framework for physical ecosystem engineering to illustrate how these organisms can exert control on sedimentary processes, coastal protection and habitat availability to other organisms. We then discuss the management implications of coastal and estuarine engineering, ending with a brief prospectus on research and management challenges.

Resource Type:

Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science