Understanding the effect of environmental and climate change on coastal lagoon management: The potential of Earth Observation.

Welcome to Lagoons for Life

Coastal lagoons are water bodies found along the coastline and are separated from the open sea by spits and sediment barriers with limited points of water exchange. “According to a classification by Kjerfve (1986), there are three types of coastal lagoons based on the number of entrance channels (inlets) and, thus, the degree of water exchange with the ocean: (a) choked, (b) restricted, and (c) leaky.

Choked lagoons have only one inlet, which restricts the influence of tidal currents and water level fluctuations in the lagoon. They can be either parallel to the shore or, when associated with river deltas, at a right angle to the shore. Restricted lagoons have two or more inlets and a well-defined tidal circulation, whilst leaky lagoons exhibit numerous inlets and are the most influenced by tidal currents in all three lagoon types. Both restricted and leaky are most usually oriented parallel to the shore.” (Source: Politi et al., 2016)

Ecosystem Services

Coastal lagoons provide a plethora of ecosystem services, such as fisheries, aquaculture, storm protection and tourism (e.g. Newton et al., 2014Rova et al., 2015Sousa et al., 2016), and as a result they are hotspots of human settlement and activities.

Lying at the intersection between land and the ocean, coastal lagoons are influenced by both land input (e.g. nutrients, runoff, river management activities) and interaction with the sea (e.g. tides, sea pollution, erosion, storm surges and sea level change). Such dynamic systems are highly sensitive to environmental and climate change, but our understanding of how lagoons respond to change globally is limited.

Sea level rise already threatens shallow coastal lagoons such as the Venice Lagoon (UNESCO, 2011) and a plethora of pressures and drivers of change in lagoons, often with direct implications for societal well-being, have been identified (Newton et al., 2014).

Managing Ecosystems

Improving our understanding of how lagoons respond to change at local, regional and global scales is necessary to sustainably manage these ecosystems, and the ecosystem services they provide, and assess the socio-environmental implications of future development (Abigail et al., 2009).

Having recognised a data and knowledge gap in the systematic study of coastal lagoons, we propose to establish a Lagoons Forum that will study those vulnerable ecosystems holistically, by integrating environmental, social and economic datasets from multiple sources.

Through linking with international experts, stakeholders, researchers and scientists, we aim to co-design lagoon management strategies that address current and future issues in coastal lagoon ecosystems and their ecosystem services.

About Lagoons for Life

Understanding how coastal lagoons respond to change at local, regional and global scales is necessary to sustainably manage lagoons, and the ecosystem services they provide, and assess the socio-environmental implications of future development in the context of climate change.

Earth Observation (EO) plays a key role in environmental monitoring and long-term climate change studies, but considerable knowledge gaps exist in exploiting the full potential of EO for coastal lagoon research.

In September 2017, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Future Earth funded a workshop with the aim to explore some of these gaps, and facilitate joint research activities between the international Earth Observation and Coastal Zone Research communities.

As a result, a new scientific hub, the Lagoons Forum, was established. Originally formed by the 17 participants of the workshop under the auspices of international research organisations and programmes, we anticipate this community to grow in the coming years.

How to Join

If you would like to find out more about joining us, please send us an email via the button below.

View List of Case Studies
GloboLakes IDL4L IDNameCountry(-ies)LonLat
4646MIRIMBrazil; Uruguay-53.0865-32.8292
358358RAZIM LakeRomania28.9615544.83648
410410SYVASH Lake, SouthUkraine35.1866645.42091
418418ABYIvory Coast; Ghana-3.160855.218121
618618SAINT LUCIASouth Africa32.46463-28.0252
746746MAUREPASUnited States-90.501330.25228
748748CALCASIEU LakeUnited States-93.312629.92336
14371437TANSIN, Laguna deHonduras-83.932615.28418
19411941VALLI DI COMACCHIOItaly12.1715944.60923
20122012PUEBLO VIEJOMexico-97.885122.15301
25322532NISSUM FJORD, BVLING FJORD, FELSTED KOGDenmark8.19020856.35722
25542554?EBSKO LakePoland17.4116254.71743
29272927VARANO, Lago diItaly15.747441.8808
30253025HOURTIN, Lac d'France-1.1122645.13539
31713171MARRYAT InletUnited States-166.50868.37941
31963196CAZAUX ET DE SANGUINET, TANG DEFrance-1.1557444.48339
248614248614CURONIANLithuania; Russia21.0210255.14782
300001SACCA DI GOROItaly12.31659844.820251
300003PATOS, LAGOA DOSBrazil-51.358066-31.068207
300004MAR CHICAMorocco-2.85646435.172973
300006TAM GIANGVietnam107.72790116.442084
300007RIA FORMOSAPortugal-7.89536.994

Lagoons for Life: Resources

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In 2017 the International Lagoons Forum was established, with international representation.


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