Assessing the role of intertidal seagrasses as coastal carbon sinks in Scotland

  Seagrasses form dense and extensive coastal meadows extending from intertidal areas down to 40 m depth worldwide except in the Antarctica. The seagrass meadows are ecologically
and economically important as they provide key ecosystem services, such as maintaining high biodiversity levels, protecting the shoreline against erosion by substrate stabilisation and
hydrodynamic energy dissipation, and sequestering and storing organic carbon contributing to the mitigation of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. With seagrass ecosystems loss at alarming
rates, facing widespread threat from reduced water quality and coastal development, it is now more than urgent to develop an understanding on the aforementioned ecosystem services,
especially in the light of climate change. The last few years many studies have been published highlighting these ecosystem services,
the majority of datasets quantifying these, however, is limited to specific geographic regions and seagrass species. In the present study, we aim to start filling these gaps by providing new information on the intertidal seagrass meadows in Scotland. More specifically, we have i) conducted monitoring of the seasonal dynamics of Zostera noltii, ii) developed a new simple, fast and inexpensive method to accurately estimate the vegetation cover, iii) assessed the carbon storage capacity of Zostera spp., and iv) provided evidence on the effect of seagrass presence on sediment deposition and retention.

  • Dates:

    2013 to 2017

  • Qualification:

    Doctorate (PhD)

Project Team