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Carbon burial in the sediments of aquatic ecosystems is an important component of long-term C-storage and relevant to the global carbon budget. Sediment carbon accumulation rates have been measured and synthesized for many aquatic ecosystem types. Cross-system analyses further reveal generalities about carbon dynamics. However, sediment carbon accumulation has not been systematically compared across aquatic ecosystems including wetlands. We synthesized estimates of sediment carbon accumulation rates from 186 studies categorized into 21 system types across the inland water to marine continuum. We limited our analysis to studies that measured modern accumulation rates directly (excluding methods such as sediment traps, particle fluxes, and radiocarbon dating). Mean accumulation rates were calculated for individual system types (e.g. lakes, mangroves, marshes) and compared. Across all systems carbon accumulation rates spanned 4 orders of magnitude (0.2 to 7,000 g C m-2 yr-1). Reservoirs and deltas accumulate carbon at the highest rates among examined systems, while seagrass beds and fjords had among the lowest rates. While there is significant variability in modern carbon accumulation rates among and within systems, based on our synthesis it is evident there is substantial carbon burial in aquatic ecosystems at a global scale.


Besterman, A. F., University of Virginia, USA,

Wilkinson, G., Iowa State University, USA

Buelo, C., University of Virginia, USA

Gephart, J., SESYNC, USA

Pace, M., University of Virginia, USA


Poster presentation

Session #:013
Date: 03/02/2017
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall

Presentation is given by student: Yes

PosterID: 165