Assessing the capacity of seagrass meadows for carbon burial: Current limitations and future strategies

Carlos Duarte*, Hilary Kennedy, Núria Marbà, Iris Hendriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seagrass meadows support high primary production rates and their canopies are efficient at filtering particles out of their water column as well as in preventing resuspension of the sediments. In addition, decomposition rates in seagrass sediments are slow, because of low nutrient concentration in seagrass detritus and low oxygen concentration in seagrass sediments. These characteristics result in high carbon burial rates in seagrass meadows, which have the capacity to accumulate large stores of carbon in their sediments, raising the seafloor. Carbon fingerprinting techniques allow to calculate both the age of these deposits and, therefore, the rate of carbon burial and identify the contribution of carbon produced by the seagrass. Yet, data on the regional cover and carbon stocks in seagrass meadows is sparse for some regions, particularly the Indo-Pacific, Africa and South America. In addition, our understanding of the factors regulating the variability in carbon sink capacity among seagrass meadows is limited. These gaps limit the capacity to formulate strategies to mitigate climate change based on the carbon sink capacity of seagrass meadows. A research strategy needs be formulated to address these gaps and provide the necessary protocols to ensure the accountability of mitigation actions involving the conservation and restoration of seagrass meadows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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