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Abstract Detail

Physiological Section

Thorhaug, Anitra [1], Poulos, Helen [2], Lopez-Portillo, Jorge [3], Schwarz, Arthur [4], Berlyn, graeme [5].

Gulf of Mexico Blue Carbon in Seagrasses: Natural , Restored, Degraded, barren sediment.

Blue carbon (from coastal and estuarine foundation habitats) has been an overlooked solution to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change calculations and its mitigating actions. Loss of carbon from soft estuarine vegetated seagrass bottoms globally, due to anthropogenic activity in estuarine/marine realms has not been defined. Field measurements of seagrass blue carbon component from Halodule wrightii and Thalassia testudinum dominated beds demonstrates high amounts of sequestered carbon in both naturally-occurring and restored seagrasses around the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) from the tip of Florida through Veracruz, Mexico. Quadruplicate 7.5x35cm cores in barren and barren-polluted, restored and natural seagrass sites within 650m were analyzed for organic Carbon, inorganic carbon, C:N ratio, and sediment texture and statistically compared. This is the first time that global results have been obtained for loss of sequestered carbon when killed by pollution, indicate 23.3 Mg Corg ha-1 (1.13 Mg Corg ha-1 y-1) average sequestered carbon loss when disturbance kills a seagrass bed. Conversely, the carbon sequestration process begins immediately after restoration at 20.3 Mg Ha-1 (6.43 Mg Corg ha-1 y-1) average for the GOM, which is higher than sequestration of carbon for naturally-occurring beds (15. 0 MgC ha-1y-1). In some areas the restored carbon was double the natural carbon. Since about 25-30% of sites were very young, the average is less than individual sites of 35-42 years. The average of Texas sites carbon sequestration after 15 yr was a less than carbon sequestration per year for south Florida sites which had accumulated from 35-42 yr. , but calculated per year of sequestration. This is the first time synoptically a large region has been assessed by the same methods of sampling and analysis to realize overall sums and numbers. We conclude seagrass must be conserved and where lost restored to government or private sector projects restored for the sequestered carbon lost and to have the use of other seagrass services such as fisheries, shoreline resilience, water clarity, and nutrient cycling.Standing Stock in GOM is estimated at 24.3 Tg Corg  while loss over the period from WWII is approximated (also using federal and states’ approximations and measurements of extent of loss) to be 17.9 Tg Corg.

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1 - 1359 SW 22nd Ter #1, Miami, FL, 33145, USA
2 - Weleyan University , college of the Environment, 284 high st, Middletown , CT , 06457, usa
3 - Inecol -Xalapa, Dept ecology, Xalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico
4 - Southwest Adventist University , Biology , 100 W Hillcreast Av. , Keene , Tx, 76059, usa
5 - Yale University, School Of Foresty & Evironmental Studies, Greeley Lab-370 Prospect St, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA

Blue carbon
Gulf of Mexico
Sequestered carbon
Carbon loss
carbon seagrass sequestration
pollution effect on carbon
Carbon Thalassia testudinum
Carbon Halodule wrightii.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 53
Location: Salon 16/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: 53004
Abstract ID:395
Candidate for Awards:None

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