eCite Digital Repository

No detectable impact of small-scale disturbances on ‘blue carbon’ within seagrass beds


Macreadie, PI and York, PH and Sherman, CDH and Keough, MJ and Ross, DJ and Ricart, AM and Smith, TM, No detectable impact of small-scale disturbances on blue carbon' within seagrass beds, Marine Biology, 161, (12) pp. 2939-2944. ISSN 0025-3162 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Crown Copyirght as represented by University of Technology, Sydney.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2558-8


Seagrass meadows are among the most efficient and long-term carbon sinks on earth, but disturbances could threaten this capacity, so understanding the impacts of disturbance on carbon stored within seagrass meadows—‘blue carbon’—is of prime importance. To date, there have been no published studies on the impacts of seagrass loss on ‘blue carbon’ stocks. We experimentally created several kinds of small-scale disturbances, representative of common grazer and boating impacts, within seagrass (Zostera nigracaulis) meadows in Port Phillip Bay (Australia) and measured the impacts on sediment organic carbon stocks (‘C org’, and other geochemical variables—%N, δ13C, δ15N). Disturbance had no detectable effect on C org levels within seagrass sediments, even for high-intensity disturbance treatments, which remained bare (i.e. no seagrass recovery) for 2 years after the disturbance. These findings challenge the widely held assumption that disturbance and concomitant loss of seagrass habitat cause release of carbon, at least for small-scale disturbances. We suggest that larger (e.g. meadow scale) disturbances may be required to trigger losses of ‘blue carbon’ from seagrass meadows.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:blue carbon, seagrass, disturbance, Zostera
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Climate change mitigation strategies
UTAS Author:Ross, DJ (Associate Professor Jeff Ross)
ID Code:98785
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-03-02
Last Modified:2017-11-03

Repository Staff Only: item control page