Role of carbonate burial in Blue Carbon budgets

Saderne, V.Geraldi, N. R.Macreadie, Peter I.Maher, D. T.Middelburg, J. J.Serrano, O.Almahasheer, HananArias-Ortiz, ArianeCusack, MichaelEyre, B. D.Fourqurean, James W.Kennedy, HilaryKrause-Jensen, DorteKuwae, T.Lavery, Paul S. Lovelock, Catherine, E.Marbà, NúriaMasqué, PereMateo, Miguel Ángel Mazarrasa, InésMcGlathery, K. J.Oreska, M. P. J.Sanders, Christian J.Santos, I. R.Smoak, J. M.Tanaya, T.Watanabe, K.Duarte, C. M.  Nature Communications 10: 1106 (2019)  DIGITAL CSIC

Calcium carbonates (CaCO3) often accumulate in mangrove and seagrass sediments. As CaCO3 production emits CO2, there is concern that this may partially offset the role of Blue Carbon ecosystems as CO2 sinks through the burial of organic carbon (Corg). A global collection of data on inorganic carbon burial rates (Cinorg, 12% of CaCO3 mass) revealed global rates of 0.8 TgCinorg yr−1 and 15–62 TgCinorg yr−1 in mangrove and seagrass ecosystems, respectively. In seagrass, CaCO3 burial may correspond to an offset of 30% of the net CO2 sequestration. However, a mass balance assessment highlights that the Cinorg burial is mainly supported by inputs from adjacent ecosystems rather than by local calcification, and that Blue Carbon ecosystems are sites of net CaCO3 dissolution. Hence, CaCO3 burial in Blue Carbon ecosystems contribute to seabed elevation and therefore buffers sea-level rise, without undermining their role as CO2 sinks.