Seagrass and macrophyte mediated CO2 and CH4 dynamics in shallow coastal waters

Seagrass meadows are among the most important coastal/ marine ecosystems for long-term carbon storage and conditioning of coastal waters. A combined air-water flux of CO2 and CH4 from the seagrass meadows was studied for the first time from Asia’s largest brackish–water lagoon, Chilika, India. Ecosystem-based comparisons were carried out during two hydrologically different conditions of dry and wet seasons in the seagrass dominated southern sector (SS); macrophyte-dominated northern sector (NS); the largely un-vegetated central sector (CS) and the tidally active outer channel (OC) of the lagoon. The mean fluxes of CO2 from SS, NS, CS and OC were 9.8, 146.6, 48.4 and 33.0mM m-2d-1, and that of CH4 were 0.12, 0.11, 0.05 and 0.07mM m-2d-1, respectively. The net emissions (in terms of CO2 equivalents), considering the global warming potential of CO2 (GWP: 1) and CH4 (GWP: 28) from seagrass meadows were over 14 times lower compared to the macrophyte-dominated sector of the lagoon. Contrasting emissivity characteristics of CO2 and CH4 were observed between macrophytes and seagrass, with the former being a persistent source of CO2. It is inferred that although seagrass meadows act as a weak source of CH4, they could be effective sinks of CO2 if land-based pollution sources are minimized.

Banerjee K., Paneerselvam A., Ramachandran P., Ganguly D., Singh G. & Ramesh R., 2018.  Seagrass and macrophyte mediated CO2 and CH4 dynamics in shallow coastal waters. PLoS ONE 13 (10): e0203922. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203922. Article.


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