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Global and local impacts on Atlantic RHODOlith beds: Implications for estimates of blue CARbon ecosystem services

Descripción del proyecto

Evaluación de la importancia de los lechos de rodolitos como sumideros de carbono naturales

Los lechos de rodolitos están formados por algas coralinas de vida libre y son el hábitat de múltiples especies de algas e invertebrados sésiles, por lo que se consideran un ecosistema singular. Su capacidad para calcificarse, junto con su abundancia y biomasa, los convierte en unos productores de carbonatos relevantes. Sin embargo, a pesar de su distribución mundial, su contribución al ciclo del carbono orgánico e inorgánico oceánico ha recibido poca o ninguna atención. El cambio climático global y una serie de factores estresantes locales suponen en la actualidad una amenaza para estos focos de biodiversidad. En el proyecto RHODOCAR, financiado con fondos europeos, se empleará un método fisiológico para proporcionar información sobre el metabolismo, la producción de carbonatos y los flujos de carbono en rodolitos, así como sobre su respuesta a factores estresantes locales y globales. Esta información permitirá evaluar la importancia actual y futura de los lechos de rodolitos como sumideros de carbono naturales.

Objetivo

Rhodolith beds are one of the most extensive benthic ecosystems along the Atlantic coasts and key environments to continental shelf resilience. Besides providing substrate and habitat for numerous other algae and sessile invertebrates, their ability to calcify, their high abundance and biomass, makes rhodoliths major carbonate producers. Recent empirical estimations suggest that the carbonate marine deposits generated by these organisms represent a total potential carbon sink of 0.4 x 109 t C yr-1. Hence, giving the increasing role of marine ecosystems in the storage of blue carbon, rhodolith beds may represent a not yet considered significant carbon store. Regarding carbon sequestration, studies on rhodolith bed community metabolism are scarce and so far only available for two temperate beds that indicate that they can act both as CO2 source and organic carbon sink. As many marine ecosystems, rhodolith beds are currently under threat related to global climate change (GCC), with local impacts due to increasing coastal urbanization, potentially lowering even further their resilience. Thus, by using a physiological approach, this project will provide much needed information on the basic mechanistic understanding of rhodolith metabolism (photosynthesis, calcification), rhodolith responses to global and local stressors, and rhodolith bed community metabolism and carbon storage along a latitudinal gradient. Taken together, this information will allow assessing the importance of rhodolith beds as natural carbon sinks, thus, help ascertain whether these ecosystems meet the requirements to be integrated into climate mitigation policy, and will further allow quantifying the effects of GCC on their carbon sequestration and storage ability. In addition, it will help recognizing potential interactions between global and local stressors, hence, aid in the development of effective local conservation and management strategies.

Coordinador

CENTRO DE CIENCIAS DO MAR DO ALGARVE
Aportación neta de la UEn
€ 147 815,04
Dirección
UNIVERSIDADE DO ALGARVE
8005-139 FARO
Portugal

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Región
Continente Algarve Algarve
Tipo de actividad
Research Organisations
Enlaces
Coste total
€ 147 815,04