Senger, Florian (2019) Assessing carbon stocks and dynamics in the changing mangrove forest of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. (Master thesis), University of Bremen, Bremen, 40 pp.

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Of the global carbon sinks, mangroves have one of the highest organic matter storage capacities in their
sediments. By sequestering and storing significant amounts of carbon, known as coastal blue carbon,
mangroves can mitigate climate change or interact with adjacent ecosystems by outwelling carbon. However,
the areal extent of mangrove forests has declined by 25–50% over the past half century as a result
of coastal development, aquaculture expansion and over-harvesting. When vegetation is removed the
sediments become exposed which results in release of the stored carbon into the atmosphere, turning
mangrove from a carbon sink into a carbon source. In this study we assessed sediment carbon storage,
sediment CO2 effluxes as well as dissolved organic and inorganic carbon in pore and surface waters in
the mangrove forest of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. The forest of Bonaire is unique as it is partly degrading
and I hypothesized that degradation of mangrove forests will equate to reduced trapping of material,
which will influence the carbon cycling, such as increased loss of CO2 to the atmosphere and reduced
dissolved organic and inorganic carbon concentrations to adjacent coastal waters which might affect adjacent
ecosystems like coral reefs and seagrass meadows. To estimate the mangrove health distribution a
combination of remote sensing techniques, ground-truth data and recorded forest structure was applied.
The generated map in combination with carbon measurements provides the first complete carbon stock estimate for Bonaire´s mangrove forest. The compiled data shows significant differences in the storage
and emission patterns of carbon between intact and degraded mangroves and can contribute to mangrove
conservations programs in order to mitigate climate change by protecting blue carbon reservoirs. Our water
samples support studies that high organic and especially inorganic carbon outwelling from mangroves
might play an important role in terms of connectivity with other ecosystems.

Document Type: Thesis supervision (Master thesis)
Thesis supervisor: Moosdorf, Nils and Kasten, Sabine
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Biogeochemistry and Geology > Submarine Groundwater Discharge
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 16:26
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:01

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