Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Elevated CO2 stimulates marsh elevation gain, counterbalancing sea-level rise

By J. Adam Langley, Karen L. McKee, Donald R. Cahoon, Julia A. Cherry and J. Patrick Megonigal

Abstract

Tidal wetlands experiencing increased rates of sea-level rise (SLR) must increase rates of soil elevation gain to avoid permanent conversion to open water. The maximal rate of SLR that these ecosystems can tolerate depends partly on mineral sediment deposition, but the accumulation of organic matter is equally important for many wetlands. Plant productivity drives organic matter dynamics and is sensitive to global change factors, such as rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. It remains unknown how global change will influence organic mechanisms that determine future tidal wetland viability. Here, we present experimental evidence that plant response to elevated atmospheric [CO2] stimulates biogenic mechanisms of elevation gain in a brackish marsh. Elevated CO2 (ambient + 340 ppm) accelerated soil elevation gain by 3.9 mm yr−1 in this 2-year field study, an effect mediated by stimulation of below-ground plant productivity. Further, a companion greenhouse experiment revealed that the CO2 effect was enhanced under salinity and flooding conditions likely to accompany future SLR. Our results indicate that by stimulating biogenic contributions to marsh elevation, increases in the greenhouse gas, CO2, may paradoxically aid some coastal wetlands in counterbalancing rising seas

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2661312
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.