Publication details.


Author(s):R. Jiménez-Ramos, F. Tomas, X. Reynés, C. Romera-Castillo, J.L. Pérez-Lloréns, L.G. Egea
Title:Carbon metabolism and bioavailability of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) fluxes in seagrass communities are altered under the presence of the tropical invasive alga Halimeda incrassata
Issue No.:1

Seagrass beds act as blue carbon sinks globally as they enhance the trapping of recalcitrant (i.e., low biodegradability) organic carbon in their sediments. Recent studies also show that the recalcitrant fraction of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool in seawater has an important role as long-term carbon sequestration in oceans. Although seagrasses are known for the large amount of DOC they export, little attention has been given to its biodegradability, which ultimately determinates its fate in the coastal carbon cycle. In turn, invasive algae are a major global concern in seagrass ecosystems since they can deeply modify their structure and functions, which may affect carbon metabolism and DOC release. This work assesses how the presence of Halimeda incrassata, an invasive tropical calcareous macroalga, modifies carbon metabolism and DOC fluxes in invaded areas dominated by the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa. Our results show that stands with the presence of this seagrass (i.e., both monospecific and mixed meadow) had the highest production values, acting as high DOC producers in both winter (mainly of labile DOC; DOCL) and summer (mainly as recalcitrant DOC; DOCR). In contrast, monospecific H. incrassata beds exhibited low production values, and the presence of this macroalga (either as monospecific beds or mixed with C. nodosa) triggered the shift from a net DOC-producing-system in summer (mainly DOCL) to a net DOC-consuming-system in winter. This work thus suggests that C. nodosa meadows have the potential to export a significant fraction of both labile and recalcitrant DOC, and that the spread of this invasive alga might decrease the C export capacity of seagrass meadows. Such shift would imply the reduction of a quick and efficient transfer of carbon and energy to higher trophic levels, and might reduce the blue carbon potential of seagrasses as dissolved form in the water column.

Related staff

  • Fiona Tomas Nash
  • Francesca Reynés Fanals
  • Related departments

  • Marine Ecology
  • Related projects

  • DIVCYMOGEN (CTA 280.001)