Gillis, L.G., Belshe, F.E., Ziegler, A.D. and Bouma, T.J. (2017) Driving forces of organic carbon spatial distribution in the tropical seascape. Journal of Sea Research, 120 . pp. 35-40. DOI

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An important ecosystem service of tropical coastal vegetation including seagrass beds and mangrove forests is their ability to accumulate carbon. Here we attempt to establish the driving forces for the accumulation of surface organic carbon in southern Thailand coastal systems. Across 12 sites we found that in line with expectations, seagrass beds (0.6 ± 0.09%) and mangrove forests (0.9 ± 0.3%) had higher organic carbon in the surface (top 5 cm) sediment than un-vegetated mudflats (0.4 ± 0.04%). Unexpectedly, however, mangrove forests in this region retained organic carbon, rather than outwell it, under normal tidal conditions. No relationship was found between organic carbon and substrate grain size. The most interesting finding of our study was that climax and pioneer seagrass species retained more carbon than mixed-species meadows, suggesting that plant morphology and meadow characteristics can be important factors in organic carbon accumulation. Insights such as these are important in developing carbon management strategies involving coastal ecosystems such as offsetting of carbon emissions. The ability of tropical coastal vegetation to sequester carbon is an important aspect for valuing the ecosystems. Our results provide some initial insight into the factors affecting carbon sequestration in these ecosystems, but also highlight the need for further research on a global scale.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Ecology > Algae and Seagrass Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 13851101
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 15:05
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:28

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