BLUE CARBON SAMPLING ON BOARD THE GARCÍA DEL CID

During the month of October, the second “Blue Carbon” sampling campaign was carried out on the seabed of Almería, Granada and Málaga. These are key works to quantify the stock of carbon stored in seagrass meadows, which are essential to achieve the objectives of the LIFE Blue Natura project, coordinated by the CMAOT and in which IUCN-Med, CSIC-Blanes, also participate. the HyT Association, the Environment and Water Agency and the Cepsa Foundation as co-financing partner.

The partner CSIC-Blanes is responsible for carrying out these works and for this has displaced the Oceanographic Ship “García del Cid” to our coasts, with almost 30 people in its crew, 15 of them researchers led by Miguel A. Mateo.

THE SAMPLING OF CARBON

What is the team work strategy?

The samplings have been designed with the objective of obtaining the maximum of natural, geographic and environmental variability that exists in these “natural stores” of carbon. Regarding the marine phanerogams, and especially Posidonia oceanica, it is necessary to take into account the depth of the meadow, the health or conservation status, the type of bottom, the degree of development of the forest and its situation, that is, if we sampled Meadows of the Alboran Sea or the prairie is more influenced by the oceanographic conditions of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the carbon in these habitats is sequestered in the sediments, but also a small part is found in the plants that form the habitat, in the hypogeal and epigeal parts. The IPCC protocol (2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: wetlands) that includes the necessary methodologies to carry out inventories of sinks and CO2 emissions in wetlands, recommends measuring the carbon stores in these 3 compartments, in order to estimate the potential emissions and sequestrations produced by an eventual degradation and / or recovery of the habitat, in addition to an eventual disintegration of the carbon sedimentary store. Given the large surface area occupied by the phanerogamic prairies in Andalusia, from the CSIC with the collaboration and precise knowledge of the work area by the sustainable marine management team of the CMAOT, a selection of locations has been made. be representative of those ranges. In total, we have worked in 16 sampling locations located in Almería, Granada and Málaga, with 1 to 4 strata (stations) per location. At each station 3 replicated sampling points were established, from which 1 sediment core 1 to 1.3 m long was extracted (in some, depending on the possibilities and interest, up to 2.8 m). In addition, in each locality complementary samples were taken around the control: 6 to 9 vertical rhizomes and samples of epigeal and hypogeous biomass, as well as a variable number of vegetable samples characteristic of the area, for the study of the isotopic signal.

The volume of samples and number of witnesses at the end of the campaign was 48 controls, 33 samples of biomass and 54 samples of beams for lepidochronology (study of the cyclic variations in the thickness of the scales of the leaves of Posidonia). In total more than 700 kilograms of samples to analyze. All the material has been sent to the CSIC laboratory in Blanes, where according to the analyzes (organic and inorganic carbon, C and N isotopes, carbon dating and 210Pb, etc.) will be sent to different specialized laboratories The results of these works will be available throughout 2018 and with them we can quantify the blue carbon deposits and know the evolution of the environmental services that these habitats provide in relation to the mitigation of climate change. This will allow us to make an economic assessment of the blue carbon of Andalusia and to finance the conservation of these Blue Carbon sink habitats, through strategies for the compensation of emissions.