Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems

Atwood, Trisha B., Connolly, Rod M., Ritchie, Euan G., Lovelock, Catherine E., Heithaus, Michael R., Hays, Graeme C., Fourqurean, James W. and Macreadie, Peter I. 2015, Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems, Nature climate change, vol. 5, no. 12, pp. 1038-1045, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2763.

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Title Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems
Author(s) Atwood, Trisha B.
Connolly, Rod M.
Ritchie, Euan G.ORCID iD for Ritchie, Euan G.
Lovelock, Catherine E.
Heithaus, Michael R.
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C.
Fourqurean, James W.
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I.
Journal name Nature climate change
Volume number 5
Issue number 12
Start page 1038
End page 1045
Total pages 8
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1758-678X
Summary Predators continue to be harvested unsustainably throughout most of the Earth's ecosystems. Recent research demonstrates that the functional loss of predators could have far-reaching consequences on carbon cycling and, by implication, our ability to ameliorate climate change impacts. Yet the influence of predators on carbon accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats (that is, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangroves) is poorly understood, despite these being some of the Earth's most vulnerable and carbon-rich ecosystems. Here we discuss potential pathways by which trophic downgrading affects carbon capture, accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats. We identify an urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling in vegetated coastal habitats, and ultimately the role that these systems play in climate change mitigation. There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest that intact predator populations are critical to maintaining or growing reserves of 'blue carbon' (carbon stored in coastal or marine ecosystems), and policy and management need to be improved to reflect these realities.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/nclimate2763
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Nature Publishing Group
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