Biological Processes in the Estuarine Environment

  • H. Kausch
Conference paper
Part of the Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 36)


Estuaries are complex systems which are governed by hydrographical factors, such as the tidal action and the mixing of freshwater and seawater, which produce complicated structural patterns that undergo continuous change in space and time. Ecological research in estuaries has to take into account that these changes are typical for the system and that variation in rather than the mean of the recorded values has to be considered. Furthermore, not only a structural analysis but also a detailed knowledge of the many different biological processes, their interactions and their interdependence with abiotic processes are the basis for a better understanding of the estuarine environment as a whole. In order to illustrate the complexity of the estuarine environment and the great importance of biological processes for the functioning of this type of ecosystem, a number of examples will be given, mostly from the turbid Elbe Estuary. These will confirm the need for more interdisciplinary research in this field.


Suspended Matter Estuarine Environment Benthic Microalgae Salt Gradient Elbe Estuary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahlf W (1985) Verhalten sedimentgebundener Schwermetalle in einem Algentestsystem, charakterisiert durch Bioakkumulation und Toxizität. Vom Wasser 65: 183–188Google Scholar
  2. Ahlf W, Calmano W, Förstner U (1986) The effects of sediment-bound heavy metals on algae and importance of salinity. In: Sly PG (ed) Sediments and Water Interactions, Springer, New York, 319–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson GF (1986) Silica, diatoms and a freshwater productivity maximum in Atlantic Coastal Plain estuaries, Chesapeake Bay. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 22: 183–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calmano W, Ahlf W, Förstner U (1988) Study of metal sorption/desorption processes on competing sediment components with a multichamber device. Environ Geol Water Sci 11: 77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caspers H (1984) Seasonal effects on the nitrogen cycle in the freshwater section of the Elbe Estuary. Verh Internat Verein Limnol 21: 866–870Google Scholar
  6. Day JH, Grindley JR (1981) The estuarine ecosystem and environmental constraints. In: Day JH (ed): Estuarine Ecology, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, 345–372Google Scholar
  7. DeJonge VN, Van den Bergs J, (1987) Experiments on the resuspension of estuarine sediments containing benthic diatoms. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 24; 725–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duwe K (1988) Numerische Simulation von Bewegungs- und Transportvorgängen in der Brackwasserzone eines Tideästuars am Beispiel der Unterelbe. Dissertation, Universität HamburgGoogle Scholar
  9. Fenchel T (1970) Studies on the decomposition of organic detritus derived from the turtle grass Thalassia testudinum. Limnol Oceanogr 15: 14–20Google Scholar
  10. Fielding PJ, Damstra KS, Branch GM (1988) Benthic diatom biomass, production and sediment chlorophyll in Langebaan Lagoon. South Africa Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 27: 413–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fischer TR, Harding LW Jr, Stanley DW, Ward LG (1988) Phytoplankton, nutrients and turbidity in the Chesapeake, Delaware, and Hudson estuaries. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 27; 61–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Greiser N (1988) Zur Dynamik von Schwebstoffen und ihren biologischen Komponenten in der Elbe bei Hamburg. Hamburger Küstenforsch, Heft 45Google Scholar
  13. Heinle DR, Harris RP, Ustach JF, Flemer DA (1977) Detritus as food for estuarine copepods. Mar Biol 40: 341–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kausch H, Flügge G, Gaumert T, Kies L, Nöthlich I, Schirmer M, Weigel HP, Breckling P (in prep. 1990): Tidegewässer.— In: Hauptausschuß Phosphate und Wasser in der Fachgruppe Wasserchemie der GDCH (Hrsg.): Wirkungsstudie Fließgewässer.Google Scholar
  15. Knauth HD, Schwedhelm E, Sturm R, Weiler K, Salomons W (1987) The importance of physical processes on contaminant behaviour in estuaries. In: Coastal and Estuarine Pollution, IAWPRC/JSWPR Fukuoka, 236Google Scholar
  16. Mann KH (1969) The dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Adv Ecol Res 6: 1–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Odum EP (1973) Fundamentals of ecology, 3rd edition WB Saunders Company, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Owens NJP (1986) Estuarine nitrification: A naturally occurring fluidized bed reaction? Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 22: 31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pennock JR (1985) Clorophyll distributions in the Delaware Estuary: Regulation by light-limitation. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 21; 711–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Puls W (1986) Field measurements of the settling velocities of estuarine floes. In: Wand SY, Shen HW, Ding LZ (eds), River Sedimentation, Vol III Proc 3rd Intern Symp River Sed, 525–536Google Scholar
  21. Relexans JC, Meybeck M, Billen G, Brugeailly M, Etcheber H, Somville M (1988) Algal and microbial processes involved in particulate organic matter dynamics in the Loire Estuary. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 27: 625–644CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roman MR (1984) Utilization of detritus by the copepod, Acartia tonsa. Limnol Oceanogr 29: 949–959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schoer J (1985) Iron-oxo-hydroxides and their significance to the behaviour of heavy metals in estuaries. In: Heavy Metals in the Environment, Proc Int Conf, Athens, 384–388Google Scholar
  24. Wassergütestelle Elbe (1984) Gewässerökologische Studie der Elbe von Schnackenburg bis zur See. Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Reinhaltung der Elbe (ARGE Elbe)Google Scholar
  25. Wassergütestelle Elbe (1986) Wassergütedaten der Elbe von Schnackenburg bis zur See. Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Reinhaltung der Elbe (ARGE Elbe)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Kausch
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Hydrobiologie und Fischereiwissenschaft, Hydrobiologische AbteilungUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations