Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Human activities along our nation's coasts often lead to habitat modification, pollution, and overexploitation of living resources in coastal and estuarine waters (U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy 2004). Coastal areas are the most developed regions of the United States. In addition to recreational and leisure activities, these areas support commercial fishing, aquaculture, shipping, and defense activities. Numerous human activities can have detrimental effects on biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services that support and sustain human populations. Given their proximity to the land and human population centers, nearshore estuarine ecosystems are especially vulnerable. Effective management can be improved with a better understanding of relationships between ecological integrity and human pressures in these ecosystems (National Estuary Program 2007). Ecologists, coastal managers, and policy-makers are working together to develop better ways to measure and manage human effects on estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Management strategies can be framed in the context of human actions (pressure or stressor), resulting effects on community structure and ecosystem functions (state or condition), and management response.



Aquatic Ecosystems, Analysis

Publication Statement

This report was prepared under contract to the Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP). The publication of this report does not indicate endorsement by the Department of Defense, nor should the contents be construed as reflecting the official policy or position of the Department of Defense. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Department of Defense