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Carbon storage in the seagrass meadows of Gazi Bay, Kenya

Githaiga, Michael N.; Kairo, James G.; Njoroge Githaiga, Michael; Gitundu, Kairo; Gilpin, Linda; Huxham, Mark


Michael N. Githaiga

James G. Kairo

Michael Njoroge Githaiga

Kairo Gitundu


Bayden D Russell


Vegetated marine habitats are globally important carbon sinks, making a significant contribution towards mitigating climate change, and they provide a wide range of other ecosystem services. However, large gaps in knowledge remain, particularly for seagrass meadows in Africa. The present study estimated biomass and sediment organic carbon (Corg) stocks of four dominant seagrass species in Gazi Bay, Kenya. It compared sediment Corg between seagrass areas in vegetated and un-vegetated ‘controls’, using the naturally patchy occurence of seagrass at this site to test the impacts of seagrass growth on sediment Corg. It also explored relationships between the sediment and above-ground Corg, as well as between the total biomass and above-ground parameters. Sediment Corg was significantly different between species, range: 160.7–233.8 Mg C ha-1 (compared to the global range of 115.3 to 829.2 Mg C ha-1). Vegetated areas in all species had significantly higher sediment Corg compared with un-vegetated controls; the presence of seagrass increased Corg by 4–6 times. Biomass carbon differed significantly between species with means ranging between 4.8–7.1 Mg C ha-1 compared to the global range of 2.5–7.3 Mg C ha-1. To our knowledge, these are among the first results on seagrass sediment Corg to be reported from African seagrass beds; and contribute towards our understanding of the role of seagrass in global carbon dynamics.


Githaiga, M. N., Kairo, J. G., Njoroge Githaiga, M., Gitundu, K., Gilpin, L., & Huxham, M. (2017). Carbon storage in the seagrass meadows of Gazi Bay, Kenya. PLOS ONE, 12(5), Article e0177001.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 21, 2017
Online Publication Date May 10, 2017
Publication Date May 10, 2017
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2017
Publicly Available Date May 12, 2017
Journal PLoS One
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 5
Article Number e0177001
Keywords Sediment, Biomass (ecology), Carbon sink, Carbon sequestration, Ecosystems, Mangrove swamps, Coastal ecosystems, Marine,
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