MEPS 596:61-70 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12597

Model-based approach for estimating biomass and organic carbon in tropical seagrass ecosystems

Milica Stankovic1, Naruemon Tantipisanuh2, Ekkalak Rattanachot3, Anchana Prathep1,3,*

1Seaweed and Seagrass Research Unit, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
2Conservation Ecology Program, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, 10150 Bangkok, Thailand
3Excellence Center for Biodiversity of Peninsula Thailand, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Seagrass ecosystems play a vital role in climate change mitigation as they are globally significant carbon sinks and are responsible for 18% of marine carbon sequestration. However, their increasingly high rates of loss and degradation over the last decade have necessitated the development of effective and non-destructive ways to estimate biomass and, consequentially, stored organic carbon. In this study, we explore cost-effective ways to estimate total organic carbon storage in monospecific (Enhalus acoroides) and mixed (E. acoroides and Thalassia hemprichii or Cymodocea serrulata) seagrass ecosystems of Southeast Asia using a modeling approach. The model can be divided into 3 units: (1) biomass prediction, (2) carbon in living vegetation prediction, and (3) carbon in sediment prediction. A series of linear regression relationships linking the units, in which the results of the previous unit represent the predictor for the subsequent unit, was used to obtain information about seagrass biomass (above- and belowground), organic carbon in the living vegetation, and organic carbon in the sediment. All of the modeling units of monospecific patches had higher and more significant correlations between the predictor and response variables compared to those of mixed patches. Following the linked units, the predicted organic carbon on a landscape scale had a small margin of error for both monospecific and mixed patches. Although the models are applicable only for certain species, they improve the cost effectiveness of the data collection and can be easily applied over a larger spatial scale. The models provide the essential knowledge required to better understand and manage seagrass ecosystems and to more effectively address climate change.


KEY WORDS: Blue carbon · Carbon sink · Stepwise structural model · Marine vegetation · Nondestructive method


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Cite this article as: Stankovic M, Tantipisanuh N, Rattanachot E, Prathep A (2018) Model-based approach for estimating biomass and organic carbon in tropical seagrass ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 596:61-70. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12597

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