Master's Thesis Defense - Celina Burkholz

Dec 06 2018 02:00 PM - Dec 06 2018 03:00 PM

Burkholz.JPG TITLE: The Effect of Increasing Temperature on Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Halophila stipulacea in the Red Sea

 ADVISOR:  Prof. Carlos Duarte

 DATE:  Thursday, 6th of December

 TIME:  2 pm

 LOCATION: Building 2 (seaside) · Level 5 · Room 5220

Abstract: Seagrass ecosystems are intense carbon sinks, but they can also emit greenhouse gases (GHG), such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), to the atmosphere. Yet, GHG emissions by seagrasses are not considered when estimating global CH4 production rates by natural sources, although these estimations will help predict future scenarios and potential changes in CH4 emissions. In addition, the effect of warming on GHG emissions by seagrasses has not yet been reported. The present study aims to assess the GHG emissions by a monospecific seagrass meadow (Halophila stipulacea) located in the central Red Sea. We measured CH4 and CO2 fluxes and their isotopic signatures by cavity ring-down spectroscopy on chambers containing vegetated and bare sediment. The fluxes were measured at temperatures from 25 ˚C (winter seawater temperature) to 37 ˚C to cover the natural thermal range and future seawater temperatures in the Red Sea. Additional parameters analyzed included changes in the sediment microbial community composition, sediment organic matter, organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus content. We detected higher CH4 and CO2 fluxes in vegetated sediment compared to bare sediment, and an increase in CH4 and CO2 production with increasing temperature. These results show that GHG emissions by seagrasses might be affected by natural temperature extremes and warming due to climate change in the Red Sea. The findings will have critical implications for the estimation of natural GHG sources, especially when predicting future changes in the global CH4 budget.