Macroalgal Blooms Trigger the Breakdown of Seagrass Blue Carbon
© Santiago Urquijo/Moment/Getty Images
Blooms of seaweed can hinder the ability of coastal seagrass to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
Seagrass meadows act as a carbon sink, locking up carbon from the atmosphere by producing organic matter that takes a long time to biodegrade. But blooms of seaweed, largely caused by high nutrient levels due to artificial sources, can disrupt seagrass growth.
Now, a team of four researchers at Deakin University in Australia and a collaborator in China has found that seaweed blooms reduce seagrass’ ability to sequester carbon. Specifically, they found that high densities of seaweed induced microbes to decompose 20% more seagrass than normal, resulting in roughly double the emission of greenhouse gases.
This mirrors results observed in other systems where adding a source of readily decomposable carbon helps break down more resistant forms of carbon.
|Deakin University, Australia||0.57|
|South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO), CAS, China||0.33|
|University of Virginia (UVA), United States of America (USA)||0.10|