Coastal lagoons provide a plethora of ecosystem services, such as fisheries, aquaculture, storm protection and tourism (e.g. Newton et al., 2014, Rova et al., 2015, Sousa et al., 2016), and as a result they are hotspots of human settlement and activities. Lying at the intersection between land and the ocean, coastal lagoons are influenced by both land input (e.g. nutrients, runoff, river management activities) and interaction with the sea (e.g. tides, sea pollution, erosion, storm surges and sea level change). Such dynamic systems are highly sensitive to environmental and climate change, but our understanding of how lagoons respond to change globally is limited. Sea level rise already threatens shallow coastal lagoons such as the Venice Lagoon (UNESCO, 2011) and a plethora of pressures and drivers of change in lagoons, often with direct implications for societal well-being, have been identified (Newton et al., 2014).
Improving our understanding of how lagoons respond to change at local, regional and global scales is necessary to sustainably manage these ecosystems, and the ecosystem services they provide, and assess the socio-environmental implications of future development (Abigail et al., 2009). Having recognised a data and knowledge gap in the systematic study of coastal lagoons, we propose to establish a Lagoons Forum that will study those vulnerable ecosystems holistically, by integrating environmental, social and economic datasets from multiple sources. Through linking with international experts, stakeholders, researchers and scientists, we aim to co-design lagoon management strategies that address current and future issues in coastal lagoon ecosystems and their ecosystem services.