Marine scientists from the University of Plymouth have contributed to a major international study exploring the role of our oceans and coastlines in trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The research, published in Nature Communications, examines the science behind blue carbon, posing a series of questions for this emerging area of marine science and highlighting where further research is urgently needed.
Blue carbon is organic carbon that is captured and stored by the oceans and coastal ecosystems, particularly vegetated coastal ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangrove forests.
By trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, blue carbon ecosystems act as natural carbon sinks, helping to offset our emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change.
The study brought together more than 30 scientists who have authored the 50 most-cited papers on blue carbon science, and asked what they most wanted to know about blue carbon.
They included Professor of Marine Biology Jason Hall-Spencer, one of the world’s leading experts on ocean acidification and its impact of marine ecosystems and species.
His previous research has shown that rising CO2 levels in the oceans could have consequences for millions and that ocean acidification is having a major impact on marine life.
He also contributed to a 2018 report by the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) highlighting the state of the UK’s maerl beds and coral gardens.