The Role Of Coastal Management In Regulating Estuarine Fluxes

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Timothy D Jickells, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4, United Kingdom
Human activity is known to be increasing the fluxes of many nutrients and trace elements in many river systems. However, the impact of riverine inputs depends not only on the riverine nutrient flux, but also on its retention in estuaries and near shore coastal systems. The retention of nutrients and trace elements in coastal systems depends at least in part on particle water interactions. These interactions in turn depend on the physical configuration of the system which regulates processes such as resuspension and water-sediment interactions. Human activity is massively altering the shape of many estuaries by activities such as reclamation and flood defence. These changes have obvious and well documented ecological impacts. I will show using examples from UK systems how these changes in estuarine “geography” also greatly alter the effectiveness of estuaries as filters for nutrients and trace elements, with the potential to have a major impact on the fluxes of fluvial material to the continental shelf on regional scales. Rising sea levels are beginning to enforce a change of management strategy in coastal systems and this in turn may have major impacts on estuarine nutrient retention.