Ever-increasing interest in oceanography and marine biology and their relevance to global environmental issues create a demand for authoritative reviews summarizing the results of recent research. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review has catered to this demand since its founding by the late Harold Barnes more than 50 years ago. Its objectives are to consider, annually, the basic areas of marine research, returning to them when appropriate in future volumes; to deal with subjects of special and topical importance; and to add new subjects as they arise. The favourable reception and complimentary reviews accorded to all the volumes shows that the series is fulfilling a very real need. Volume 54 follows closely the objectives and style of the earlier volumes, continuing to regard the marine sciences—with all their various aspects—as a unity. Physical, chemical, and biological aspects of marine science are dealt with by experts actively engaged in these fields. The series is an essential reference text for researchers and students in all fields of marine science and related subjects, and it finds a place in libraries of universities, marine laboratories, research institutes and government departments. It is consistently among the highest ranking series in terms of impact factor in the marine biology category of the citation indices compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information/Web of Science.