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Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe$
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Peter J. Hayward and John S. Ryland

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549443.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 April 2021

The Marine Environment of North-West Europe

The Marine Environment of North-West Europe

(p.1) 1 The Marine Environment of North-West Europe
Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe

Peter J. Hayward

John S. Ryland

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 discusses the marine environment of north-west Europe. The north-west European shelf is here considered to extend from Brittany to Shetland and from the western shelf to the epicontinental North Sea, defined and bordered by the 200 m isobath; it lies deepest to the west, but is mostly shallower than 100 m to the east. Geological and hydrographical characteristics of the region are briefly reviewed. Gradients of change in physical environmental factors may be related to annual and seasonal fluctuations in the residual flow of the North Atlantic Drift, and the warm North Atlantic Current, both subject to a climatic phenomenon, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Sea surface temperatures also reflect a long-term, low-frequency climatic fluctuation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Temperature and salinity characteristics, together with depth and substratum, determine the distribution of individual species, and the structure and composition of benthic communities.

Keywords:   physical environmental factor, gradient of change, North Atlantic Drift, North Atlantic Current, NAO, AMO

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