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Forensic carbon accounting: assessing the role of seaweeds for carbon sequestration


Hurd, CL and Law, CS and Bach, LT and Britton, D and Hovenden, M and Paine, ER and Raven, JA and Tamsitt, V and Boyd, PW, Forensic carbon accounting: assessing the role of seaweeds for carbon sequestration, Journal of Phycology, 58, (3) pp. 347-363. ISSN 0022-3646 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2022 Phycological Society of America.

DOI: doi:10.1111/jpy.13249


Carbon sequestration is defined as the secure storage of carbon-containing molecules for >100 years, and in the context of carbon dioxide removal for climate mitigation, the origin of this CO2 is from the atmosphere. On land, trees globally sequester substantial amounts of carbon in woody biomass, and an analogous role for seaweeds in ocean carbon sequestration has been suggested. The purposeful expansion of natural seaweed beds and aquaculture systems, including into the open ocean (ocean afforestation), has been proposed as a method of increasing carbon sequestration and use in carbon trading and offset schemes. However, to verify whether CO2 fixed by seaweeds through photosynthesis leads to carbon sequestration is extremely complex in the marine environment compared to terrestrial systems, because of the need to jointly consider: the comparatively rapid turnover of seaweed biomass, tracing the fate of carbon via particulate and dissolved organic carbon pathways in dynamic coastal waters, and the key role of atmosphere–ocean CO2 exchange. We propose a Forensic Carbon Accounting approach, in which a thorough analysis of carbon flows between the atmosphere and ocean, and into and out of seaweeds would be undertaken, for assessing the magnitude of CO2 removal and robust attribution of carbon sequestration to seaweeds.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean afforestation, kelp farming, CO2 removal
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Air quality, atmosphere and weather
Objective Field:Atmospheric composition (incl. greenhouse gas inventory)
UTAS Author:Hurd, CL (Professor Catriona Hurd)
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
UTAS Author:Britton, D (Dr Damon Britton)
UTAS Author:Hovenden, M (Professor Mark Hovenden)
UTAS Author:Paine, ER (Mrs Ellie Paine)
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
ID Code:155104
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT200100846)
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2023-01-30
Last Modified:2023-03-20

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