Gray, S. (2021). Coastal blue carbon emissions of salt marsh soils. The Young Researcher, 5(1), 54-65.
Salt marshes and other coastal habitats are often overlooked for their potential in combating climate change and reducing carbon emissions. The objective of this study was to observe the variance in carbon flux between disturbed and undisturbed salt marsh soils when subjected to freezing and thawing cycles. Sediment samples were collected from both a natural and recovering site within a Mid-Atlantic salt marsh. The samples were incubated and pushed through freezing and thawing conditions, carbon emissions and temperatures of the soil being monitored throughout each thaw. The data suggested that there is a positive correlation between soil disturbance and soil respiration in conjunction with rising temperatures. These findings suggest that disturbances could convert salt marshes from effective carbon sinks to sources of carbon emissions, not only reversing the positive contributions of blue carbon ecosystems, but amplifying the issue of climate change.
Keywords: salt marsh, carbon flux, soil respiration, climate change, wetlands, freeze/thaw