Institute of Physics Publishing
School of Science/ Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
ARC Number : DE170101524
Over the past decade scientists around the world have sought to estimate the capacity of seagrass meadows to sequester carbon, and thereby understand their role in climate change mitigation. The number of studies reporting on seagrass carbon accumulation rates is still limited, but growing scientific evidence supports the hypothesis that seagrasses have been efficiently locking away CO2 for decades to millennia (e.g. Macreadie et al 2014, Mateo et al 1997, Serrano et al 2012). Johannessen and Macdonald (2016), however, challenge the role of seagrasses as carbon traps, claiming that gains in carbon storage by seagrasses may be 'illusionary' and that 'their contribution to the global burial of carbon has not yet been established'. The authors warn that misunderstandings of how sediments receive, process and store carbon have led to an overestimation of carbon burial by seagrasses. Here we would like to clarify some of the questions raised by Johannessen and Macdonald (2016), with the aim to promote discussion within the scientific community about the evidence for carbon sequestration by seagrasses with a view to awarding carbon credits.
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