Against a background of extensive multi-disciplinary oceanographic investigations over a number of years, together with the long-term establishment of a Society and Institute, extensive information is available from studies undertaken in the estuarine and coastal waters of the Basque Country.
The present authors gained access to unpublished literature and reports which, together with a synthesis of internationally-refereed papers, provide a series of scientific overviews of particular subject areas. Teams of researchers (from Basque Institutes and Universities) combine to present the present 'state of knowledge', within a global context, of processes ranging from sub-seabed to air-sea interaction - incorporating data on the associated biology (including fisheries) and pollutant sources and levels. The latter are compared with regional, national and European legislation. The volume is divided into various sections: Introduction; Geography and Oceanography; Chemical Oceanography and Water Quality; Sediment Characteristics, Quality and Chemistry; Biomonitoring; Communities and Ecology; and Overall Assessment.
The topics covered include: an historical review of marine research; the impact of human activities, during past centuries; geology, geomorphology and sediments; climate and meteorology; marine dynamics; hydrography; water mass characteristics; contaminants in the waters; microbiological quality; sedimentological characteristics; contaminants in sediments; biomonitoring of heavy metals and organic components, at tissue organism level and using cellular and molecular biomarkers; bacterioplankton and phytoplankton communities; zooplankton communities; benthic communities; seabirds; biodiversity and conservation; recovery of benthic communities; the polluted systems; and assessment of human impacts. On the basis of these syntheses, future challenges for marine research in the Basque Country are identified, in terms of a 'Research Agenda'.
This comprehensive text, relating to estuarine, coastal and oceanographic processes at wide-ranging spatial and temporal scales in the southern Bay of Biscay, will be of interest to researchers, engineers and legislators - on a regional basis and within a world-wide perspective.