Area of relatively shallow water situated in a coastal environment, separated from the open marine conditions by a natural barrier (a sand spit, a barrier island or a coral reef), but with an access to the sea.
Lagoons do not receive a large freshwater inflow in contrast with estuaries . One may distinguish between microtidal and macrotidal lagoons. Examples of microtidal lagoons are Great South Bay and Pamlico Sound at the US Atlantic coast. Examples of macrotidal lagoons (also called tidal lagoons) are the Wadden Sea at the Dutch-German-Danish North Sea coast and the Bassin d'Arcachon at the French Atlantic coast. Tidal lagoons are distinct from microtidal lagoons by the existence of deep tidal inlets and large tidal flats.
- The introductory overview article Morphology of estuaries.
- The coastal lagoon systems: the case of the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, Caribbean Coast, Colombia
- Pinet P.R. 1998.Invitation to Oceanography. Jones and Barlett Publishers. p. 508