Seagrasses are increasingly recognized as important tools for climate change mitigation as a result of their ability to sequester and store atmospheric carbon in their biomass and soils.

Why does this project matter?

Quantifying the carbon stocks in the eelgrass beds within San Diego Bay provides a valuable window into understanding the climate benefits of eelgrass restoration, while also helping to prioritize actions or funds to conserve eelgrass habitats in the context of climate change. This study provides new scientific research on how carbon stocks vary among different eelgrass species, ecoregions, bed depths, and bed ages.

core sample of bay mud

What is ESA doing to help?

In the Year 1 study, ESA partnered with Merkel & Associates to quantify the amount of carbon stored in the eelgrass beds in San Diego Bay. The team collected eelgrass biomass samples and sediment cores to test the amount of carbon stored in the aboveground biomass and belowground sediments. Samples were taken across the bay to test how carbon varies among different eelgrass species, ecoregions, bed depths, and bed ages. Year 1 report:

In the Year 2 study, we are comparing carbon assimilation (i.e., how eelgrass uses carbon to build biomass) to carbon sequestration (i.e., how carbon is stored in soil long-term). We are also examining the way carbon is stored in the water column through the bicarbonate pathway.

Alicia conducting sample study

Connect with our team

Testimonials icon

“This study builds a foundation for understanding how eelgrass could support greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts for ports and the maritime industry. It’s also another reminder why protecting and restoring eelgrass habitat is so important. “

Heather Kramp, Senior Environmental Specialist

Port of San Diego

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