University of St Andrews: long term salt marsh carbon exchange measurements

Salt marshes store a significant quantity of soil carbon, yet relatively little is known about the carbon uptake by these systems. Despite their importance, regular tidal inundation means that salt marsh ecosystems are rarely measured with long term measurements such as Eddy Covariance.

The University of St Andrews is measuring some of the first long-term salt marsh carbon exchange measurements.

Eddy co-variance tower

Eddy co-variance tower

Our results show the impact tides have on these ecosystems. The normal behaviour of uptake during the day (due to photosynthesis) and losses at night (due to respiration) is disrupted on a regular basis by tidal inundations which suppress carbon exchange from both photosynthesis and respiration.

Measurements of carbon exchange at the Abbotts Hall salt marsh in Essex

Measurements of carbon exchange at the Abbotts Hall salt marsh in Essex