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Data from: Organic carbon, grain size, elemental/isotopic composition

Cite this dataset

Ward, Melissa (2021). Data from: Organic carbon, grain size, elemental/isotopic composition [Dataset]. Dryad.


Salt marshes and seagrass meadows can sequester and store high quantities of organic carbon (OC) in their sediments relative to other marine and terrestrial habitats. Assessing carbon stocks, carbon sources, and the transfer of carbon between habitats within coastal seascapes are each integral in identifying the role of blue carbon habitats in coastal carbon cycling. Here, we quantified carbon stocks, sources, and exchanges in seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and unvegetated sediments in six bays along the Pacific coast of California. The salt marshes studied here contained approximately twice as much OC as did seagrass meadows, 23.51 ± 1.77 kg OC m-3 compared to 11.01 ± 1.18 kg OC m-3, respectively. Both seagrass and salt marsh sediment carbon stocks were higher than previous estimates from this region but lower than global and U.S.-wide averages, respectively. Seagrass-derived carbon was deposited annually into adjacent marshes during fall seagrass senescence. However, isotope mixing models estimate that negligible amounts of this seagrass material were ultimately buried in underlying sediment. Rather, the vast majority of OC in sediment across sites was likely derived from planktonic/benthic diatoms and C3 salt marsh plants.


See manuscript.