Centre for Integrative Ecology
Deakin University, Burwood campus
221 Burwood Hwy, VIC 3125
Distribution, drivers and disturbance of “blue carbon” in southeast Australia
Carolyn’s thesis is focused on understanding the dynamics of carbon sequestration in saltmarshes, mangroves, and seagrasses (‘Blue Carbon’) in southeast Australia.
Seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangrove forests – collectively termed ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems – serve as dense carbon sinks important for reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Their ability to trap particles from the water column allows them to rapidly accu mulate sediments, resulting in carbon sequestration rates 30-50 times higher than in terrestrial forests. In spite of their impact on the global carbon cycle, estimates of blue carbon stocks are fairly limited. Further, the high rates of blue carbon ecosystem conversion and degradation, ranging from 0.7 to 7% annually, have highlighted the vulnerability of blue carbon stocks. Carolyn’s research examines four main objectives that serve to fulfill these knowledge gaps: 1) to quantify organic carbon stocks and spatial variability in southeast Australia, 2) to estimate emissions associated with historical ecosystem loss, 3) to model drivers of carbon stock variability across local and regional spatial scales, and 4) to quantify and qualify changes to sediment blue carbon after disturbance.
Briefly, this research involved undergoing a comprehensive, large-scale sampling campaign of 96 blue carbon ecosystems across a data-deficient region of southeast Australia, applying these data to create predictive models and produce high-resolution carbon stock maps, and using paleoanalytical techniques and laboratory simulations to measure the impacts of ‘reclamation’ (blocking off of tidal inundation) and erosion on blue carbon stocks, respectively.
Blue Carbon, carbon stock, spatial variability, disturbances, coastal wetlands, southeast Australia
Ewers Lewis C, Baldock J, Hawke B, Gadd P, Zawazki A, Heijnis H, Jacobsen G, Rogers K, Macreadie P. (2019) Impacts of land reclamation on tidal marsh ‘Blue Carbon’ stocks. Science of the Total Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.345
Seitz R, Ewers-Lewis C (2018). Loss of seagrass results in changes to benthic infaunal community structure and decreased secondary production. Bulletin of Marine Science 94: 1273-1292
Sanderman J, Hengl T, Fiske G, Solvik K, Adame M, Benson L, Bukoski J, Carnell P, Cifuentes-Jara M, Donato D, Duncan C, Eid E, zu Ermgassen P, Ewers Lewis C, Glass L, Gress S, Sunny J, Jones T, Macreadie P, Nsombo E, Rahman M, Sanders C, Spalding M, Landis E (2018) A global map of mangrove forest soil carbon at 30 m spatial resolution. Environmental Research Letters 13: 055002
York PH, Smith TM, Coles RG, McKenna SA, Connolly RM, Irving AD, Jackson EL, McMahon K, Runcie JW, Sherman CD, Sullivan BK, Trevathan-Tackett S, Ewers C, et al. (2017) Identifying knowledge gaps in seagrass research and management: an Australian perspective. Marine environmental research 127: 163-72
Atwood TB, Connolly RM, Almahasheer H, Carnell P, Duarte CM, Ewers C, Irigoien X, Kelleway J, Lavery PS, Macreadie PI, Serrano O, Sanders C, Santos I, Steven A, Lovelock CE (2017). Global patterns in mangrove soil carbon stocks and losses. Nature Climate Change 7: 523-528.
Ewers CJ, Carnell PE, Sanderman J, Baldock JA, Macreadie PI (2017). Variability and vulnerability of coastal ‘blue carbon’ stocks: A case study from southeast Australia. Ecosystems 21: 263-279
Macreadie PI, Ollivier Q, Kelleway JJ, Serrano O, Carnell P, Ewers C, Atwood T, Sanderman J, Baldock J, Connolly RM, Duarte CM, Lavery P, Steven A, Lovelock CE (2017) Carbon sequestration by Australian tidal marshes. Scientific Reports 7: 44071
External links to Carolyn’s research