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Title: The influence of Spartina maritima on carbon retention capacity in salt marshes from warm-temperate estuaries
Author: Sousa, Ana I.
Lillebø, Ana I.
Pardal, Miguel A.
Caçador, Isabel
Keywords: Carbon cycling
Carbon sink
Mesotidal estuaries
Salt marsh maturity
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Salt marshes constitute highly productive systems playing an important role on ecosystem functions. The aim of this study is to compare the role of Spartina maritima salt marshes on carbon cycling. Thus, four salt marshes located in two mesotidal estuarine systems (Tagus and Mondego, two salt marshes per estuary) were studied. The S. maritima above- and belowground biomass, carbon production, decomposition rates (through a litterbag experiment) and carbon content in the sediment were estimated for a one year period in both systems and compared. In Corroios (located at the Tagus estuary) S. maritima salt marsh had the highest belowground production (1008 gC m(-2) y(-1)), slower decomposition rate (k=0.0024 d(-1)), and the highest carbon content in sediments (750 gC m(-2) y(-1)); and thus, the highest carbon retention capacity. The other three salt marshes had comparatively higher aboveground productions, higher decomposition rates and lower carbon retention capacity. Therefore, Corroios had the most important carbon cycling characteristics. As a whole, results show that differences in carbon cycling in salt marshes depend mostly on its own characteristics and maturity, rather than the system itself. The intrinsic characteristics of the salt marshes, namely the physicochemical conditions determined by the maturity of the system, are more important factors affecting the role of warm-temperate mesotidal salt marshes as carbon sinks.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.02.018
ISSN: 0025-326X
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DQ - Artigos

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