Inorganic carbon outwelling from a Mediterranean seagrass meadow using radium isotope tracers
Seagrass meadows populate near-shore waters all over the world and are known for their ability to sequester large amounts of carbon. They have therefore been recognised as an important tool in the fight against climate change. However, in order for these schemes to be effective, it is vital that carbon dynamics are understood. This thesis aims to address this research gap, and provides some of the first estimates for dissolved inorganic carbon outwelling from a Mediterranean seagrass meadow using naturally-occurring radium isotopes.
A reviewer wrote, ‘this is an exceptional submission…the thesis makes a valuable and practical contribution in furthering scientific knowledge on outselling, which has consequences for climate change dynamics.’
Claudia Majtenyi Hill
Claudia completed a bachelors degree in 'Physical Geography and ecosystem science' at Lund University, followed by a Master's degree in 'Marine Science' at Gothenburg University. Claudia has continued with 'Blue carbon' topics and is currently working as 'Research Assistant' with the 'Barefoot Biogeochemistry' lab group.
What was your thesis topic?
On a broader scale, this thesis falls into the topic of ‘blue carbon ecosystems’. These are defined as vegetated coastal zones (e.g. mangroves, seagrass meadows, tidal marshes), capable of sequestering large amounts of carbon. More specifically, it focuses on carbon dynamics and outwelling in a Mediterranean seagrass meadow during an early autumn season. Most previous seagrass research has centered around the large carbon storage capacity within meadow sediments. However, horizontal transport (aka. outwelling) to the adjacent open ocean is a pathway that has recieved far less attention. This thesis uses radium isotope techniques to quantify and provide one of the first estimates for dissolved inorganic carbon outwelling from a seagrass meadow.
In what ways do you think your topic improves the world?
Climate change is a topic of undeniable importance and one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. Consequences are widespread and not only impact the natural world, but also human lives. Droughts, floods, severe fires and catastrophic storms are just a few of the impacts already being seen. Blue carbon schemes offer potential to work together with nature and combat human induced emissions. My hope is that that this research helps to improve knowledge of carbon dynamics within these ecosystems. In doing so, conservation and mitigation efforts can be developed and optimised, contributing towards positive change in the world and a brighter future for the planet.
What recommendations would you make to others interested in taking a similar direction with their research?
Go for it!