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Coastal and marine ecosystems, some severely degraded, other still pristine, control rich resources of inshore environments and coastal seas of Latin America's Pacific and Atlantic margins. Conflicts between the needs of the region's nations and diminishing revenues and environmental quality have induced awareness of coastal ecological problems and motivated financial support for restoration and management. The volume provides a competent review on the structure, processes and function of 22 important Latin American coastal marine ecosystems. Each contribution describes the environmental settings, biotic components and structure of the system, considers trophic processes and energy flow, evaluates the modifying influence of natural and human perturbations, and suggests management needs. Although the focus of the book is on basic ecological research, the results have application for coastal managers.