High variability of Blue Carbon storage in seagrass meadows at the estuary scale

Ricart, Aurora M., York, Paul H., Bryant, Catherine V., Rasheed, Michael A., Ierodiaconou, Daniel, and Macreadie, Peter I. (2020) High variability of Blue Carbon storage in seagrass meadows at the estuary scale. Scientific Reports, 10. 5865.

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Abstract

Seagrass meadows are considered important natural carbon sinks due to their capacity to store organic carbon (Corg) in sediments. However, the spatial heterogeneity of carbon storage in seagrass sediments needs to be better understood to improve accuracy of blue carbon assessments, particularly when strong gradients are present. We performed an intensive coring study within a sub-tropical estuary to assess the spatial variability in sedimentary Corg associated with seagrasses, and to identify the key factors promoting this variability. We found a strong spatial pattern within the estuary, from 52.16 mg Corg cm-3 in seagrass meadows in the upper parts, declining to 1.06 mg Corg cm-3 in seagrass meadows at the estuary mouth, despite a general gradient of increasing seagrass cover and seagrass habitat extent in the opposite direction. The sedimentary Corg underneath seagrass meadows came principally from allochthonous (non-seagrass) sources (~70-90%), while the contribution of seagrasses was low (~10-30%) throughout the entire estuary. Our results showed that Corg stored in sediments of seagrass meadows can be highly variable within an estuary, attributed largely to accumulation of fine sediments and inputs of allochthonous sources. Local features and the existence of spatial gradients must be considered in blue carbon estimates in coastal ecosystems.

Item ID: 62685
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Spanish Government (SG)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP160100492, SG ProjectCTM2010-22273-C02-01, SG Scholarship BES-2011-046849
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2020 22:02
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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