L&O Special Issue: Carbon sequestration in aquatic ecosystems

L&O Special Issue: Carbon sequestration in aquatic ecosystems

Announcing the 2022 Limnology and Oceanography Special Issue

Manuscripts due 1 October, 2021

Aquatic ecosystems from headwater streams to the deep ocean play a major role in the global carbon cycle. Long term carbon sequestration occurs through a variety of mechanisms in sediments of natural and artificial lakes, wetlands, estuaries, coastal vegetated habitats, and marine systems. Natural and anthropogenic carbon can also be stored as dissolved inorganic or organic carbon in both freshwater and marine systems.

Coastal blue carbon habitats such as mangrove forests, saltmarshes, seagrass beds and macroalgal forests are global hotspots of carbon sequestration. Blue carbon includes not only storage in sediments within coastal vegetated habitats, but also carbon stored offshore in sediments or as refractory dissolved organic carbon or bicarbonate. Freshwater wetlands and lakes can also store large amounts of carbon, while rivers and streams often release CO2 to the atmosphere.

The science of aquatic carbon sequestration has rapidly evolved in the last decade. Initial work focussed on establishing aquatic primary production rates, then shifted towards assessments of soil/sediment carbon, and eventually towards considering the overall fate of aquatic carbon, including greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. We now have several national and global scale assessments of carbon stocks and fluxes in sediments and quantifications of climate mitigation potentials of restoration and conservation efforts. However, aquatic carbon budgets remain fragmented and have large, unresolved uncertainties.

A stronger scientific framework is needed to document the full potential of aquatic ecosystems, in special blue carbon habitats, as viable nature-based solutions to reduce carbon pollution, and to adapt to climate change. Preserving or restoring sinks of aquatic carbon can help governments to achieve United Nations sustainable development goals and meet the Paris Agreement by offsetting anthropogenic emissions. To maximize aquatic carbon sequestration, we need to minimize the destruction of key habitats and encourage restoration programs at local, national and global scales.

Our growing scientific community has roots in the diverse sub-disciplines of limnology and oceanography, including biology, ecology, biogeochemistry, geography, oceanography, soil science, and climate change. A number of fundamental, interdisciplinary scientific questions remain:

  1. How will climate and land use change modify aquatic ecosystems and their capacity to effectively sequester carbon?
  2. What is the relative contribution of different aquatic ecosystems or biogeochemical processes as carbon sinks or sources?
  3. Are overlooked carbon cycle pathways such as porewater and groundwater exchange, outwelling, or offshore carbon burial significant from a carbon sequestration perspective?
  4. To what extent can aquatic greenhouse gas emissions partially offset some of the carbon sequestration in sediments or the ocean?
  5. How do different policies and restoration and management approaches modify aquatic carbon sequestration and contribute to climate change mitigation?
  6. Which ecological processes support aquatic carbon sequestration and long-term storage?

This special issue welcomes contributions addressing these and other emerging questions in the field of aquatic carbon sequestration. Descriptive investigations of local relevance only are discouraged. The contributions should fit L&O’s scope and will be assessed with the same level of rigour by guest editors and invited external referees as regular journal issues. Invited review and/or synthesis papers will be commissioned by the guest editors. Manuscript proposals or preliminary inquiries on the suitability of your work are welcome. Please email the Deputy Editor or any of the guest editors with a short proposal including, title, authors, and a 200-word abstract of the planned paper.

The deadline for manuscript submission is 1 October 2021. Manuscripts related to presentations in the Special Session on Blue Carbon in the ASLO 2021 Aquatic Science Meeting in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, are especially welcome. Proposals or preliminary inquiries on the suitability of your manuscript are welcome via email to guest editors or the Deputy Editor. Manuscripts may be submitted earlier, and accepted papers will be published online in Early View with a permanent doi upon acceptance, with a completed issue expected in October 2022. Articles should be submitted through ScholarOne at the Wiley Limnology & Oceanography website: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/lo. Please identify your submission for consideration in the “Blue Carbon” issue. For more information, please contact one of the special issue Editors below or the Deputy Editor, Julia Mullarney, julia.mullarney@waikato.ac.nz.

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Isaac R. Santos (University of Gothenburg, Sweden and National Marine Science Centre, Australia) – Email: isaac.santos@gu.se
Vanessa Hatje (Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil) – Email: vanessahatje@gmail.com
Oscar Serrano (Edith Cowan University, Australia) – Email: o.serranogras@ecu.edu.au
David Bastviken (Linköping University, Sweden) – Email: david.bastviken@liu.se
Dorte Krause-Jensen (Aarhus University, Denmark) – Email: dkj@bios.au.dk

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