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Marine Nearshore (Subsystem)

Unique Identifier: 4

System Marine
Subsystem Marine Nearshore
Tidal Zone Marine Nearshore Subtidal
Marine Nearshore Intertidal
Marine Nearshore Supratidal

Description
Definition The Marine Nearshore Subsystem extends from the landward limit of the Marine System to the 30 meter depth contour. The 30 meter depth contour was selected as a useful cutoff between shallower nearshore and deeper offshore waters. It is intended to represent an ecologically significant depth to which water column and benthic processes are strongly coupled in the Nearshore Subsystem. Surface currents and waves impinge the bottom at the storm wave base (Keen and Holland 2010) and vertical circulation generally distributes nutrients and sediments throughout the water column. The photic zone extends through the entire water column except in extreme cases (Kleypas, McManus and Menez 1999). The presence of nutrients and light support the growth of vegetation on the bottom including seagrass and macroalgal beds and 30 meters generally represents the depth to which most living coral is found.