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Coastal marine systems are among the most ecologically and socio-economically vital on the planet. It is now widely acknowledged that coastal and marine environments are experiencing enhanced changes as a result of natural and anthropogenic induced causes. Physical impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and extreme inundation events, pose a considerable threat to coastal settlements and the coastal ecosystems that provision and support them.

Increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases projected for the 21st century are expected to lead to increased mean global air and ocean temperatures. Anthropogenically induced global climate change has profound implications for marine ecosystems and the economic and social systems that depend upon them. The relationship between temperature and individual performance is reasonably well understood, and much climate-related research has focused on potential shifts in distribution and abundance driven directly by temperature.

Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems covers the pioneer of the coastal and marine resources sector review of potential impacts on shorelines, estuaries, coastal wetlands, coral reefs, and ocean margin ecosystems. It reviews recent advances in our understanding of the physical and chemical nature of climate change in coastal oceans. Also, it examines the likely ecological responses to climate change as well as the proximate effects of environmental change, including impacts on individuals, populations and communities are addressed. The broader ecological responses that will emerge from these proximal impacts; emergent responses include alterations in biologically and socio-economically important patterns and processes ranging from primary productivity to biogeography to evolution are considered.

This book considers major knowledge gaps and research needs in order to: assess the risk climate change poses to coastal settlements, coastal ecosystems and the interplay between the two; develop appropriate adaptation strategies for coastal settlements and ecosystems; and ascertain how land-based activities and adaptation strategies will influence the adaptive capacity of coastal ecosystems.

This book will appeal to students, practitioners, as well as a beneficial guide for researchers working on riverine, estuarine, and coastal marine systems.