Global seaweed productivity

Albert Pessarrodona, Jorge Assis, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Michael T. Burrows, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Carlos M. Duarte, Dorte Krause-Jensen, Pippa J. Moore, Dan A Smale, Thomas Wernberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The magnitude and distribution of net primary production (NPP) in the coastal ocean remains poorly constrained, particularly for shallow marine vegetation. Here, using a compilation of in situ annual NPP measurements across >400 sites in 72 geographic ecoregions, we provide global predictions of the productivity of seaweed habitats, which form the largest vegetated coastal biome on the planet. We find that seaweed NPP is strongly coupled to climatic variables, peaks at temperate latitudes, and is dominated by forests of large brown seaweeds. Seaweed forests exhibit exceptionally high per-area production rates (a global average of 656 and 1711 gC m−2 year−1 in the subtidal and intertidal, respectively), being up to 10 times higher than coastal phytoplankton in temperate and polar seas. Our results show that seaweed NPP is a strong driver of production in the coastal ocean and call for its integration in the oceanic carbon cycle, where it has traditionally been overlooked.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScience advances
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 14 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-16
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the Australian Research Council Research Training program (to A.P.), Australian Research Council (DP190100058, to T.W. and K.F.-D.; DE190100692, to K.F.-D.), the Norwegian Blue Forest Network (to K.F.-D., T.W., and D.K.-J.), a National Environment Research Council grant (NE/S01169/1, to P.J.M.), a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship grant (MR/S032827/1, to D.A.S.), the Independent Research Fund Denmark grant 8021-00222 B (to D.K.-J.), an EU Horizon 2020 contract 869154 (to D.K.-J.), the Foundation for Science and Technology (UID/Multi/04326/2020, UIDP/04326/2020, LA/P/0101/2020, PTDC/BIA- CBI/6515/2020, and DL57/2016/CP1361/CT0035, to J.A.), the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Veolia Foundation (to J.-P.G.), IAEA Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (to J.-P.G.), and French Facility for Global Environment (to J.-P.G.).


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