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The Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association [ECSA] is an international organization dedicated to the study of all aspects of estuarine and coastal marine science, and also the application of science for conservation and environmental management. ECSA is involved in the organization of one or more major symposia each year. IMAR-Institute of Marine Research (U.Coimbra) and CO-Centre of Oceanography (U.Lisbon) will organise the ECSA 47 Symposium.
The core theme of the ECSA 47 will be:
Integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological quality in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide”, which hopefully will be appealing to many members of the “marine and estuarine scientific community".
In fact, legislations to address the ecological quality or integrity of estuarine and coastal systems are under development worldwide (e.g. Oceans Act in USA, Australia or Canada; Water Framework Directive or Marine Strategy in Europe; National Water Act in South Africa, etc.), and consequently increasing attention has to be paid to the development of tools for different physicochemical or biological elements of the ecosystems. Nevertheless, very few methodologies integrate all the elements into a unique evaluation of a water body, and the development of such integrative tools to assess ecosystem quality is therefore of major importance, both from a scientific and stakeholder points of view.
Suitable approaches must take into account the multidisciplinarity of the problems involved, the need for integration of biotic and abiotic factors, methods intercalibration and validation, and adequate indicators to follow the evolution of the monitored ecosystems. The ECSA meeting will contribute to provide an overview of the current situation through examples from each of the continents.