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The Danube

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What are coastal lagoons and why are they important?

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)