Encyclopedia of Estuaries - A review by Norbert Dankers (EUCC)

Notwithstanding that I worked in estuaries for 40 years, I learned a lot by going through this encyclopedia. Or maybe I should say that because of working in estuaries that long, I enjoyed reading it because the authors give a good and in depth insight in this ecotope.

In alphabetical order 269 topics are treated by 169 authors, most of which can be seen as specialists in their field. Authors originate from 23 countries around the world although almost half are from the USA.

One could argue that encyclopedia are out of date now Google is available. A specialist might have his own connections and be able to discriminate between facts and fiction on the World Wide Web. For students, laymen, consultants, civil servants and many more, separating facts and fiction often proves difficult. This encyclopedia gives adequate and factual descriptions of relevant issues. Each entry is written by a specialist and includes a list of references for further reading.

Altogether 269 topics are treated. Some briefly but many in much detail. The choice of subjects is not always clear to me. Why would I take this dictionary from the shelf if I want to look for the meaning of – Age, Alkalinity, Bulkheads, Blue crabs, Heavy metals, Neural Networks Peat etc. Maybe if, in some spare hours, I went paging through the 8 pages content and then wonder what would be under that heading. But who does? Or can these be found with a search engine on the internet?

Also some aspects are under a heading I would not look for them. For example, the perfect contribution on sediments by Flemming and Delafontaine is listed under the M (Mass Physical Sediment Properties). I would have placed it under Sediment Characteristics.

The biggest surprise is that I didn’t find a description or definition of ESTUARY. For me an estuary has three characteristics. A tidal range (otherwise it is a lagoon), a salinity gradient and a landscape form (Delta or funnel shaped river mouth) which separates it from the open sea. Solely taking a salinity gradient is not enough as this can be measured far into the sea or ocean.

However, as expected, this is compensated by a range of Estuarine entries. Thirteen altogether, comprising 60 pgs., dealing with estuarine processes and management. Also 10 pages on Deltas and 12 on Deltaic wetlands make up this shortcoming.

This book is interesting for students, laymen and managers and a must for consulting firms who can save a lot of time, and money, checking issues when writing reports. The authors, entries and refs therein guarantee that one is up to date and on the right track.

Encyclopedia of Estuaries

Edited by Michael J. Kennish 2016, 790 pages, 329 illustrations, 179 illustrations in full color.

Available in print and electronic form

ISBN: 978-94-017-8800-7 (print)

ISBN: 978-94-017-8801-4 (electronic)

ISBN: 978-94-017-8802-1 (p+e)

Print: http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789401788007

Online: http://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007%2F978-94-017-8801-4 with freely available sample articles