Blue carbon research has been pointed out as a promising alternative to mitigate the effects of climate change. Carbon captured by seagrass ecosystems can persist stored in their sediments for long periods of time, up to millennia, contributing significantly to the net removal of global atmospheric CO2. However, land use change, erosion, and anthropogenic degradation processes have potentially threatened the environmental role of these coastal ecosystems. Sustainable management of blue carbon coastal wetlands is key to avoid the turnover of their carbon rich sediments into potential carbon sources.
The purpose of my study is to assess how carbon sequestration and storage in seagrass ecosystems in the UK have been influenced by recent climatic change, as well as present comparable carbon storage and sequestration data for seagrass meadows. My results will provide conclusive and original data to increase understanding of the importance of Southern UK’s temperate seagrass meadows as carbon sinks.
The project will demonstrate the geochronological correlation between impacts of climate change related factors and seagrasses’s carbon sequestration and storage potential, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Data collected will promote the inclusion of UK coastal habitats conservation in global carbon policies, as well as filling the gaps in scientific research on temperate seagrass meadows carbon storage and sequestration potential and GHG emissions.
Following an assessment of the UK Wildlife Trusts' most recent seagrass distribution inventory, my fieldwork sites have been selected within the Solent region, Southeast of England, and include Chichester Harbour, Southampton Water, the Isle of Wight and West Hampshire.