Blue Carbon stocks of Great Barrier Reef deep-water seagrasses

York, Paul H., Macreadie, Peter I., and Rasheed, Michael A. (2018) Blue Carbon stocks of Great Barrier Reef deep-water seagrasses. Biology Letters, 14 (12). 20180529.

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Abstract

Shallow-water seagrasses capture and store globally significant quantities of organic carbon (OC), often referred to as ‘Blue Carbon’; however, data are lacking on the importance of deep-water (greater than 15 m) seagrasses as Blue Carbon sinks. We compared OC stocks from deep-, mid- and shallow-water seagrasses at Lizard Island within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon. We found deep-water seagrass (Halophila species) contained similar levels of OC to shallow-water species (e.g. Halodule uninervis) (0.64 ± 0.08% and 0.9 ± 0.1 mg C cm−3, 0.87 ± 0.19% and 1.3 ± 0.3 mg C cm−3, respectively), despite being much sparser and smaller in stature. Deep-water seagrass sediments contained significantly higher levels (approx. ninefold) of OC than surrounding bare areas. Inorganic carbon (CaCO3) levels were relatively high in deep-water seagrass sediments (8.2 ± 0.4%) and, if precipitated from epiphytes within the meadow, could offset the potential CO2-sink capacity of these meadows. The δ13C signatures of sediment samples varied among depths and habitats (−10.9 and −17.0), reflecting contributions from autochthonous and allochthonous sources. If the OC stocks reported in this study are similar to deep-water Halophila meadows elsewhere within the GBR lagoon (total area 31 000 km2), then OC bound within this system is roughly estimated at 27.4 million tonnes.

Item ID: 56198
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-957X
Keywords: seagrass; Blue Carbon; Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 The Author(s)
Funders: Isobel Bennett Marine Biology Fellowship, Hermon Slade Raiatea Foundation, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Linkage Grant LP160100492, ARC DECRA Fellowship DE130101084
Research Data: https://datadryad.org/handle/10255/dryad.187346
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 21:55
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040305 Marine Geoscience @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9614 Soils > 961401 Coastal and Estuarine Soils @ 30%
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