Estuarine and coastal processes, whether physical, chemical, or biological, are especially complex due in large part to the susceptibility of estuarine and coastal waters to forcing by adjacent marine, terrestrial, and meteorological systems. At the same time it is those waters that lie in the immediate vicinity of the coast -- coastal ponds, estuarines and embayments -- that are most impacted by society's commercial, recreational, and residential activities. Other threats to coastal communities include sea-level rise, conflicts between private ownership of the coast and public access, and recreational demands of the increasing coastal population (boating, fishing, shellfishing, beaches). Research supported within this theme is often multidisciplinary and directly interfaces with the management community that must make regulatory decisions on the proper stewardship of coastal ecosystems.
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems