Transitional waters: A new approach, semantics or just muddying the waters?

por 11 Sep 2017Calidad de aguas

Source: Science Direct

Authors: D.S.McLusky(Editor), M.Elliott (Member of Editorial Board)

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science has throughout its history considered a diverse range of habitats including estuaries and fjords, brackish water and lagoons, as well as coastal marine systems. Its articles have reflected recent trends and developments within the estuarine and coastal fields and this includes the changing use of well-accepted terms. The term “transitional waters” first came to prominence in 2000 with the publication of the Water Framework Directive of the European Communities [European Communities, 2000. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Official Journal of the European Communities 43 (L327), 75 pp.], where “transitional waters” are defined as “bodies of surface water in the vicinity of river mouths which are partially saline in character as a result of their proximity to coastal waters but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows”. The inclusion of the term transitional waters in our own aims and scope reflects the evolution of language in this subject area, encompassing tidal estuaries and non-tidal brackish water lagoons. This article reflects on some of the difficulties posed by the use of the term and its attempts to be inclusive by incorporating fjords, fjards, river mouths, deltas, rias and lagoons as well as the more classical estuaries. It also discusses the problems of including in the term river mouths discharging either into predominantly brackish areas such as the Baltic Sea, or into freshwater-poor areas bordering the Mediterranean.