Species Traits and Geomorphic Setting as Drivers of Global Soil Carbon Stocks in Seagrass Meadows

H. Kennedy, J. F. Pagès, D. Lagomasino, Núria Marbà, Ariane Arias-Ortiz, J. W. Fourqurean, M. N. Githaiga, J. L. Howard, D. Krause-Jensen, T. Kuwae, P. S. Lavery, P. I. Macreadie, N. Marbà, P. Masqué, Inés Mazarrasa, T. Miyajima, Oscar Serrano, Carlos M. Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of the factors that can influence the stock of organic carbon (OC) that is stored in the soil of seagrass meadows is evolving, and several causal effects have been used to explain the variation of stocks observed at local to national scales. To gain a global-scale appreciation of the drivers that cause variation in soil OC stocks, we compiled data on published species-specific traits and OC stocks from monospecific and mixed meadows at multiple geomorphological settings. Species identity was recognised as an influential driver of soil OC stocks, despite their large intraspecific variation. The most important seagrass species traits associated with OC stocks were the number of leaves per seagrass shoot, belowground biomass, leaf lifespan, aboveground biomass, leaf lignin, leaf breaking force and leaf OC plus the coastal geomorphology of the area, particularly for lagoon environments. A revised estimate of the global average soil OC stock to 20cm depth of 15.4 Mg C ha-1 is lower than previously reported. The largest stocks were still recorded in Mediterranean seagrass meadows. Our results specifically identify Posidonia oceanica from the Mediterranean and, more generally, large and persistent species as key in providing climate regulation services, and as priority species for conservation for this specific ecosystem service.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
StatePublished - Sep 28 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-10-05
Acknowledgements: HKwas supported by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation program Coastal Ecosystem Services in East Africa (NE/L001535/1). JFPacknowledges financial support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 795315. JWFand JLHwere supported by the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under the U.S. National Science Foundation Grant No. DEB-2025954, and this paper is contribution #xxxx from the Institute of Environment at Florida International University. TKwas supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) grant number 18H04156 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. DKJwas funded by European Union H2020 (FutureMARES, contract #869300). OSwas supported by I+D+i projects RYC2019-027073-I and PIE HOLOCENO 20213AT014 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and FEDER. PIMwas supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP200100575).PMThis work is contributing to the ICTA ‘‘Unit of Excellence’’ (MinECo, MDM2015-0552). The IAEA is grateful for the support provided to its Environment Laboratories by the Government of the Principality of Monaco. NMwas supported by the project RTI2018-095441-B-C21 funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by FEDER. IMwas supported by a Juan de la Cierva Incorporación postdoctoral fellowship (IJC2020-045917-I I) from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Spanish Government).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Species Traits and Geomorphic Setting as Drivers of Global Soil Carbon Stocks in Seagrass Meadows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this