Coastal lagoons of Southern Europe: recent changes and future scenarios


1 - As a consequence of their location between land and open sea, coastal lagoons are subject to strong anthropogenic pressures due to tourism and/or heavy shellfish/fish farming. Furthermore, they receive fresh water from their catchment areas loaded with urban, agricultural and/or industrial effluents and domestic sewages. 2 - These pressures are responsible for important ecosystem alterations i.e. eutrophication, bacterial contamination, algal blooms (toxic or not), anoxia and fish kills. Further, additional problems arise from costal erosion, subsidence and effects related to extreme meteorological events, typical from Mediterranean areas. 3 - The development of management tools for coastal lagoons is a complex task requiring interdisciplinary research and active interaction with the end-users. By developing and implementing a set of information tools (Environmental databases, GIS, watershed and lagoon hydrodynamic coupled with biological models), the DITTY project aimed at the development of the scientific and operational bases for a sustained and rational utilisation of the available resources in Southern European lagoons in five case studies: Ria Formosa (Portugal), Mar Menor (Spain), Thau Lagoon (France), Sacca di Goro (Italy) and gulf of Gera (Greece). 4 - During this project, a set of scenarios was defined with end-users and stakeholders, addressing issues such as population growth, change in land use or resource exploitation, dredging operations and water reuse. whenever appropriate. Effect of climate change is also considered, taking 2015 as time horizon.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i18252273v1n1p1

Keywords: lagoon; watershed; modelling; biogeochemistry; nutrient; bacterial contamination; shellfish farming; eutrophication

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