FCE LTER Journal Articles


Carbon and nutrient storage in subtropical seagrass meadows: examples from Florida Bay and Shark Bay


Seagrass meadows in Florida Bay and Shark Bay, contain substantial stores of both organic carbon and nutrients. Soils from both systems are predominantly calcium carbonate, with an average of 82.1% CaCO3 in Florida Bay compared to 71.3% in Shark Bay. Soils from Shark Bay had, on average, 21% higher organic carbon content and 35% higher phosphorus content than Florida Bay. Further, soils from Shark Bay had lower mean dry bulk density (0.78 ± 0.01 g mL-1) than those from Florida Bay (0.84 ± 0.02 mg mL-1). The most hypersaline regions of both bays had higher organic carbon content in surficial soils. Profiles of organic carbon and phosphorus from Florida Bay indicate that this system has experienced an increase in P delivery and primary productivity over the last century; in contrast, decreasing organic carbon and phosphorus with depth in the soil profiles in Shark Bay point to a decrease in phosphorus delivery and primary productivity over the last 1000 y. The total ecosystem stocks of stored organic C in Florida Bay averages 163.5 MgCorg ha-1, lower than the average of 243.0 MgCorg ha-1 for Shark Bay; but these values place Shark and Florida Bays among the global hotspots for organic C storage in coastal ecosystems.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.