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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-137
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-137
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 May 2016

Submitted as: research article | 10 May 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Sediment characteristics as an important factor for revealing carbon storage in Zostera marina meadows: a comparison of four European areas

Martin Dahl1, Diana Deyanova1, Silvia Gütschow1, Maria E. Asplund2, Liberatus D. Lyimo1,3, Ventzislav Karamfilov4, Rui Santos5, Mats Björk1, and Martin Gullström1 Martin Dahl et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, SE - 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2The Sven Lovén Center for Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, SE - 451 78 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
  • 3School of Biological Science, University of Dodoma, Box 338 Dodoma, Tanzania
  • 4Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2, Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 5ALGAE - Marine Ecology Rese arch Group, CCMar - Center of Marine Sciences, Faro, Portugal

Abstract. The seagrass ecosystem is an important natural carbon sink but the efficiency varies greatly depending on species composition and environmental conditions. What causes this variation is not fully known and could have important implications for management and protection of the seagrass habitat to continue to act as a natural carbon sink. Here, we assessed sedimentary organic carbon in Zostera marina meadows (and adjacent unvegetated sediment) in four areas of Europe (Gullmar Fjord on the Swedish west coast, Askö in the Baltic Sea, Sozopol in Black Sea and Ria Formosa in southern Portugal) down to ~ 35 cm depth. We also tested how sedimentary organic carbon in Z. marina meadows relates to different sediment characteristics, a range of seagrass-associated variables and water depth. The carbon storage varied both among and within areas, where the Gullmar Fjord had a 15 times higher carbon storage compared to Askö and Sozopol. We found that high carbon content in Z. marina sediment is strongly related to a high proportion of fine grain size, high porosity and low density of the sediment. We suggest that sediment characteristics should be highlighted as an important factor when evaluating high priority areas in management of Z. marina generated carbon sinks.

Martin Dahl et al.
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Martin Dahl et al.
Martin Dahl et al.
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