Harbour Ecology

Environment and Development in Poole Harbour

  • A clear-eyed examination of sustainable development in the coastal estuarine/marine context
  • Reflects on the paradox of protected yet polluted environments
  • In-depth consideration of the ecology of this major English harbour
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    • This is a well written, thorough, well documented, easy to read, and fascinating book...a very informative and fascinating case study of how local politics prevent the management of an MPA and lessons learned.
      —Prof. Eric Wolanski, author of Coasts and Estuaries: The Future
    • aquatic ecology
    • ecology
    • ecosystem
    • estuaries
    • marine biology
    • marine habitat
    • pollution


    Poole Harbour is protected and recognised, both nationally and internationally, for its ecological importance. However, it has also been classified as polluted and ‘eutrophic’. These twin designations – protected yet polluted – exemplify the condition of many English estuaries, making Poole Harbour a useful case study for elucidating the circumstances behind this apparent paradox.

    The outcome of a conference entitled ‘Spotlight on Poole Harbour: Environment & Economics’ organised by the Poole Harbour Study Group, this book consists of four main parts. After a short preamble, Part I, ‘Background’, provides a broad introduction to the harbour in terms of its pre-historical and historical significance for human communities and a conceptual overview of its modern character and uses. Part II, ‘Ecology’, contains chapters on subjects ranging from plankton to mammals. Insofar as they also consider anthropogenic aspects of the ecology, these contributions anticipate the remaining sections of the book, which deal specifically with aspects of the ecological service industries supported by Poole Harbour. Part III, ‘Fisheries’, covers recreational and commercial fishing and aquaculture, examining economic value and key shellfish species. Part IV, ‘Water Quality’, addresses those industries for which the harbour’s chemical and biological processes remediate various effluents, as well as some of the environmental consequences and noteworthy efforts to reduce such impacts. Part V, ‘Conclusion’, by the editors looks at certain general shortcomings of environmental legislation and regulation in the case of Poole Harbour. 

    A central concern throughout is the question of sustainable development in coastal estuarine and marine contexts, making this far-reaching study relevant well beyond the bounds of its primary geographical focus.

    DOI: 10.53061/LGUG2858

    Table of Contents

    Poole Harbour Study Group

    1 Introduction: Ecology and Economics in an Industrialised Harbour
    John Humphreys and Alice E. Hall
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/XXOI6415

    Part I: Background
    2 An Industrial History of Poole Harbour
    David A. Humphreys
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/MYBO1590
    3 The Archaeology of the Marine Shells of Poole Harbour
    Jessica Winder and Greg Campbell
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/XPQF6067
    4 Developing Conceptual Ecosystem Models for Poole Harbour
    Eleanor Rivers and Roger J.H. Herbert
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/BRFB1578

    Part II: Ecology
    5 The Planktonic Organisms of Poole Harbour
    Daniel J. Franklin and Andrew Powell
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/NXVP8477
    6 Intertidal and Lagoon Macrofauna and Flora of Poole Harbour
    Roger J.H. Herbert, Richard A. Stillman, Kathryn Ross, Ann Thornton, Alice E. Hall, Jessica Bone, Leo Clarke, Elena Cantarello and Philip Pickering
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/OPZF8277
    7 The Fishes of Poole Harbour
    Philip Pickering and Roger J.H. Herbert
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/SBDK9176
    8 Waterbirds of Poole Harbour: Figures and Trends
    Kathryn E. Ross, Katharine M. Bowgen, Niall H.K. Burton, Roger J.H. Herbert and Richard A. Stillman
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/STXT1634
    9 An Overview of Seals in Poole Harbour
    Sarah Hodgson and Julie Hatcher
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/MKNB4666
    10 Holes Bay Nature Park: Ecology and Human Activity
    Emma Rance
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/XUFY6761

    Part III: Fisheries
    11 Fisheries of Poole Harbour
    Robert W. E. Clark
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/KZRS7935
    12 A Tale of Three Fisheries: The Value of the Small-scale Commercial Fishing Fleet, Aquaculture and the Recreational Charter Boat Fleet to the Local Economy of Poole
    Chris Williams and William Davies
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/ATWH9910
    13 The Manila Clam in Poole Harbour: A Journey to Sustainability
    Sarah Elizabeth Birchenough
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/QMDP6661
    14 Ecology and Exploitation of Poole Harbour Oysters
    John Humphreys
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/XYMT2923

    Part IV: Water QualIty
    15 Water Framework Directive Ecological Monitoring in Poole Harbour, 2007–2019
    Suzy Witt
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/RUUU3584
    16 Wessex Water’s Environmental Improvement Work in the Poole Harbour Catchment during the Twenty-First Century, 2000–2019
    Ruth Barden
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/UZJT9025
    17 Managing Poole Harbour Water Quality through a Catchment-based Approach
    Fiona Bowles
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/MCSS5956
    18 Using Drone Surveys to Assess Opportunistic Green Algae in Poole Harbour
    Andrew Harrison
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/GYLK1608
    19 Nuisance Macroalgae in Poole Harbour
    Suzy Witt
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/QVOS9745
    20 The Potential Economic Exploitation of Macroalgal Mats in Poole Harbour and Other Channel Estuarine Systems
    Sinead E. Morris, Gordon J. Watson, Sophie Richier, Iain D. Green, Annesia L. Lamb and Daniel J. Franklin
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/HDDQ6575

    Part V ConclusIon
    21 Conservation and Regulation in an Industrialised Estuary
    John Humphreys and Alice E. Hall
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.53061/UPWW8690



    • This is a well written, thorough, well documented, easy to read, and fascinating book...a very informative and fascinating case study of how local politics prevent the management of an MPA and lessons learned.
      —Prof. Eric Wolanski, author of Coasts and Estuaries: The Future
    • Harbour Ecology is a well-sourced collection of scientific papers... It balances much-needed facts and figures with charts and diagrams and is a good source of information for ecologists and naturalists alike.
      —Neil Garrick Maidment, British Naturalists' Association
    • The editors are to be congratulated in bringing together an impressive set of papers in this very well-produced book.
      —Mike Elliot, The Marine Biologist

    About the Author

    John Humphreys is Professor of Marine Biology and formerly Pro Vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich and Chair of the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. His edited volumes include Marine Protected Areas: Science, Policy and Management (2020) with Rob Clark and Challenges in Estuarine and Coastal Science with Sally Little (2022).

    Alice E. Hall is a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth, specialising in marine ecology and ecological engineering. Alice has conducted research within the harbour for the last six years. She is also the environmental commissioner for Poole Harbour Commissioners.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 292 pages
    • 58 colour photographs, 50 diagrams, graphs and maps
    • 42 tables
    • BISAC TEC060000, SCI039000, NAT011000