Hot spots and hot moments in seagrass 'blue carbon' science

Macreadie, Peter, York, Paul, Rasheed, Michael, Bryant, Catherine, Ricart, Aurora, Nielsen, Daniel, Fontes, Maria, Atwood, Tricia, Seymour, Justin, Petrou, Katherina, Kelleway, Jeffrey, Thomson, Alexandra, Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey, Connolly, Rod, and Ralph, Peter (2015) Hot spots and hot moments in seagrass 'blue carbon' science. In: Abstracts from 52nd Australian Marine Science Association Conference. p. 206. From: AMSA 2015: Australian Marine Science Association: Estuaries to Oceans, 5-9 July 2015, Geelong, Victoria.

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When seagrass meadows are destroyed, what happens to the 'blue carbon' stored within their sediments; does it stay in the ground, or is it released into the atmosphere? Is it possible to manage seagrass ecosystems so that they sequester more blue carbon? With seagrasses now recognised as globally-significant carbon sinks, the answers to these questions have important consequences for nature-based climate change mitigation and adaptation (i.e. 'biosequestration'). We make the case that microbes fundamentally control the fate of sequestered blue carbon within seagrass, and, therefore, management efforts aimed at bolstering blue carbon opportunities within seagrass ecosystems need to target processes that influence (directly or indirectly) microbial remineralisation of blue carbon. New data will be presented showing that blue carbon occurs in hotspots and changes in the geochemistry of seagrass sediments - such as those caused by disturbance - can create hot moments, whereby organic carbon within sediments undergoes rapid and substantial microbial remineralisation. In order to better manage seagrass ecosystems for blue carbon benefits, we outline three recommendations: reducing anthropogenic nutrient inputs, reinstating top-down control of bioturbator populations, and restoring hydrology. These processes are amenable to management control, they promote microbial dormancy and limit microbial priming, and offer ecosystem benefits beyond carbon sequestration.

Item ID: 45204
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISBN: 978-0-7300-0028-0
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Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2016 22:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science @ 100%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology @ 0%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9614 Soils > 961401 Coastal and Estuarine Soils @ 25%
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