Shallow Seas Ecosystems


Shallow seas are defined as marginal or inland extensions of ocean with average depths of about 200 m. They are also called coastal or neritic waters, and described as those lying landward of 200 m depth. Their contour is known as the continental shelf, and their seaward margin is known as the continental edge, which separates shallow waters from the deep ocean. The area of shallow seas accounts for 7.5% of the oceans, 18% of the land above the sea level, and 3% of the Earth's surface.

Keywords: oceanography; marine biology; ecosystem; shallow sea

Figure 1.

(a) Anemonia sulcata. (b) The small fish Amphiprion spp. lives on coral substrates such as A. sulcata.

Figure 2.

(a) Corallium rubrum. (b) Astroides calycularis.

Figure 3.

(a) Millepora dichotoma. (b) Tridacna gigas. (c) Parapriacanthus guentheri. (d) Sea turtle Caretta caretta.

Figure 4.

(a) Left: Echinaster sepositus; right: Sertella behaniana. (b) Stylocidaris affinis. (c) Holothuria spp. (d) Peltodoris atromaculata.



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Further Reading

Abel PD (1989) Water Pollution Biology. Chichester: Ellis Horwood.

Baker JM and Wolff WJ (1987) Biological Surveys of Estuaries and Coasts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Black JA (1986) Oceans and Coasts. Dubuque, IA: Wm C Brown Publishers.

Clark JR (1998) Coastal Seas: the Conservation Challenge. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science.

Prager EJ (2000) The Oceans. New York: McGraw‐Hill Press.

Riedl R (1983) Fauna und Flora des Mitterlmeeres. Hamburg: Verlag Paul Parey.

Sterrer W (1986) Marine Fauna and Flora of Bermuda. New York: John Wiley.

Van der Kreeke J (1986) Physics of Shallow Estuaries and Bays. New York: Springer‐Verlag.

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How to Cite close
Bianconi, Giovanna(Oct 2002) Shallow Seas Ecosystems. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003193]