No detectable impact of small-scale disturbances on ‘blue carbon’ within seagrass beds

Macreadie,PI, York,PH, Sherman,CDH, Keough,MJ, Ross,DJ, Ricart,AM and Smith,TM 2014, No detectable impact of small-scale disturbances on ‘blue carbon’ within seagrass beds, Marine biology, vol. 161, no. 12, pp. 2939-2944, doi: 10.1007/s00227-014-2558-8.

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Title No detectable impact of small-scale disturbances on ‘blue carbon’ within seagrass beds
Author(s) Macreadie,PIORCID iD for Macreadie,PI
Sherman,CDHORCID iD for Sherman,CDH
Smith,TMORCID iD for Smith,TM
Journal name Marine biology
Volume number 161
Issue number 12
Start page 2939
End page 2944
Total pages 6
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2014-12
ISSN 0025-3162
Summary Seagrass meadows are among the most efficient and long-term carbon sinks on earth, but disturbances could threaten this capacity, so understanding the impacts of disturbance on carbon stored within seagrass meadows—‘blue carbon’—is of prime importance. To date, there have been no published studies on the impacts of seagrass loss on ‘blue carbon’ stocks. We experimentally created several kinds of small-scale disturbances, representative of common grazer and boating impacts, within seagrass (Zostera nigracaulis) meadows in Port Phillip Bay (Australia) and measured the impacts on sediment organic carbon stocks (‘Corg’, and other geochemical variables—%N, δ13C, δ15N). Disturbance had no detectable effect on Corg levels within seagrass sediments, even for high-intensity disturbance treatments, which remained bare (i.e. no seagrass recovery) for 2 years after the disturbance. These findings challenge the widely held assumption that disturbance and concomitant loss of seagrass habitat cause release of carbon, at least for small-scale disturbances. We suggest that larger (e.g. meadow scale) disturbances may be required to trigger losses of ‘blue carbon’ from seagrass meadows.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2558-8
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Springer
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