St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Florida Shelf Ecosystems

Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change

Project Summary

Carbon Sequestration/Carbon Fluxes

Carbon flux in the ocean is linked to the terrestrial carbon cycle through river discharge and coastal processes.
Carbon flux in the ocean is linked to the terrestrial carbon cycle through river discharge and coastal processes.

Resource managers have become increasingly concerned with measures that can maximize carbon storage/sequestration and reduce CO2 emissions. These issues have become important considerations in a broad range of decisions affecting land, water, and ecosystem resources. This project addresses carbon flux via research into carbon transfer and multiple inputs into the shallow waters of the West Florida Shelf, including the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 has been linked to ocean acidification.

Carbon Flux Workshop

The Florida Shelf was designated Zone 2 for monitoring and research on carbon flux to the Gulf of Mexico.The Florida Shelf was designated Zone 2 for monitoring and research on carbon flux to the Gulf of Mexico as discussed at the Terrestrial and Coastal Carbon Fluxes Workshop.

Carbon flux in coastal and terrestrial ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, including the sources and sinks of carbon, were explored at a workshop in an effort to link land and ocean models with flux at the land/water boundary. Approximately 90 scientists and managers from 23 states and Mexico participated in a 2½ day workshop to develop research strategies to address the information gaps of carbon fluxes associated with the Gulf of Mexico. The Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program (OCB; http://www.us-ocb.org/) sponsored this workshop with support from U.S. National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey, and the University of South Florida. The workshop report, summarizing existing knowledge about the Gulf of Mexico system and recommendations for future research, can be found at: http://www.whoi.edu/sites/GMxCarbon/

Gulf of Mexico and West Florida Shelf

The Gulf of Mexico is a semi-enclosed basin with major terrestrial inputs. The effects of climate change and land-use change are occurring at rates that require a reexamination of historical data and extrapolation to future trends. Major overarching questions that our project addresses are: What are the net fluxes of total carbon through the terrestrial and marine interface? How can changes to carbon flux be predicted? How will these changes impact ecosystems?

Answers to such questions require expanded interdisciplinary, place-based understanding of the fundamental processes that control interactions among geological, hydrological, biological, and ecological systems.

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