Can macroalgae contribute to blue carbon? An Australian perspective

Hill, Ross, Bellgrove, Alecia, Macreadie, Peter I., Petrou, Katherina, Beardall, John, Steven, Andy and Ralph, Peter J. 2015, Can macroalgae contribute to blue carbon? An Australian perspective, Limnology and oceanography, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 1689-1706, doi: 10.1002/lno.10128.

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Title Can macroalgae contribute to blue carbon? An Australian perspective
Author(s) Hill, Ross
Bellgrove, AleciaORCID iD for Bellgrove, Alecia
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I.
Petrou, Katherina
Beardall, John
Steven, Andy
Ralph, Peter J.
Journal name Limnology and oceanography
Volume number 60
Issue number 5
Start page 1689
End page 1706
Total pages 18
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-09
ISSN 0024-3590
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Summary Macroalgal communities in Australia and around the world store vast quantities of carbon in their living biomass, but their prevalence of growing on hard substrata means that they have limited capacity to act as long-term carbon sinks. Unlike other coastal blue carbon habitats such as seagrasses, saltmarshes and mangroves, they do not develop their own organic-rich sediments, but may instead act as a rich carbon source and make significant contributions in the form of detritus to sedimentary habitats by acting as a “carbon donor” to “receiver sites” where organic material accumulates. The potential for storage of this donated carbon however, is dependent on the decay rate during transport and the burial efficiency at receiver sites. To better understand the potential contribution of macroalgal communities to coastal blue carbon budgets, a comprehensive literature search was conducted using key words, including carbon sequestration, macroalgal distribution, abundance and productivity to provide an estimation of the total amount of carbon stored in temperate Australian macroalgae. Our most conservative calculations estimate 109.9 Tg C is stored in living macroalgal biomass of temperate Australia, using a coastal area covering 249,697 km2. Estimates derived for tropical and subtropical regions contributed an additional 23.2 Tg C. By extending the search to include global studies we provide a broader context and rationale for the study, contributing to the global aspects of the review. In addition, we discuss the potential role of calcium carbonate-containing macroalgae, consider the dynamic nature of macroalgal populations in the context of climate change, and identify the knowledge gaps that once addressed will enable robust quantification of macroalgae in marine biogeochemical cycling of carbon. We conclude that macroalgal communities have the potential to make ecologically meaningful contributions toward global blue carbon sequestration, as donors, but given that the fate of detached macroalgal biomass remains unclear, further research is needed to quantify this contribution.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/lno.10128
Field of Research 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses)
050102 Ecosystem Function
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Wiley
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