08 Apr 2021
08 Apr 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Mediterranean seagrasses as carbon sinks: Methodological and regional differences

Anna Escolano-Moltó1, Susana Flecha1,2, Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer3, Marlene Wesselmann1, Núria Marbà1, and Iris Eline Hendriks1 Anna Escolano-Moltó et al.
  • 1Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA-CSIC-UIB), C/Miquel Marqués 21, 07109 Esporles, Illes Balears, Spain
  • 2Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC), Campus Universitario Río San Pedro s/n, 11519 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain
  • 3Marilles Foundation, Bisbe Perelló 1, 7, 07002, Palma de Mallorca, Illes Balears, Spain

Abstract. The increasing rates of CO2 due to anthropogenic activities are causing important potential climate threats for the Mediterranean Sea: ocean acidification and warming. In this region, two seagrass species, Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa can play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. Through their metabolic activity, they can act as carbon sinks; buffer lowering pH values during the day and store carbon in the sediment underneath their meadows. In this study we analyse the metabolism synthesized from published data on seagrass community metabolism and from own results to evaluate trends through time of these two species comparing two methodologies: benthic chambers and multiparametric sensors. Furthermore, we analysed seasonal trends of both seagrass species´ metabolic rates and their variation between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean basins, with no significant results despite the clear visual trends. Our analysis revealed that there are significant differences between methodologies, with multiparametric sensors estimating higher rates, but unable to differentiate between habitats and useful to assess seagrass metabolism at a community level whereas benthic chambers are capable to evaluate rates at a seagrass species level. We found significant differences between the two Mediterranean regions for both methodologies, with highest rates of Net Community Production found in the Easter basin. At a species level, we found that Posidonia was more productive compared to Cymodocea. Furthermore, 86.7 % of the metabolic values reflected that the meadows were acting as carbon sinks in the Western basin.

Anna Escolano-Moltó et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-60', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 May 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Iris Hendriks, 18 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-60', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Iris Hendriks, 18 Aug 2021

Anna Escolano-Moltó et al.

Anna Escolano-Moltó et al.


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Short summary
Seagrasses are marine plants with the capacity to act as carbon sinks due to their high primary productivity, using carbon for growth. This capacity can play a key role in climate change mitigation. We compiled published and own data and show two Mediterranean seagrass species have different metabolic rates and the method used influences the rates of the measurements. Also the Eastern basin is more productive compared to the Western Mediterranean while most communities act as carbon sinks.