Substantial blue carbon sequestration in the world’s largest seagrass meadow

Chuancheng Fu*, Sofia Frappi, Michelle Nicole Havlik, Wells Howe, S. David Harris, Elisa Laiolo, Austin J. Gallagher, Pere Masqué, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seagrass meadows are important sinks for organic carbon and provide co-benefits. However, data on the organic carbon stock in seagrass sediments are scarce for many regions, particularly The Bahamas, which accounts for up to 40.7% of the documented global seagrass area, limiting formulation of blue carbon strategies. Here, we sampled 10 seagrass meadows across an extensive island chain in The Bahamas. We estimate that Bahamas seagrass meadows store 0.42–0.59 Pg organic carbon in the top-meter sediments with an accumulation rate of 2.1–2.9 Tg annually, representing a substantial global blue carbon hotspot. Autochthonous organic carbon in sediments decreased from ~1980 onwards, with concomitant increases in cyanobacterial and mangrove contributions, suggesting disturbance of seagrass ecosystems, likely caused by tourism and maritime traffic activities. This study provides seagrass blue carbon data from a vast, understudied region and contributes to improving climate action for The Bahamas and the Greater Caribbean region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number474
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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