Rosenberg Institute Spring Seminar Series @ EOS Center
Who helps whom? The role of marine forests on the mitigation and adaptation to climate change
Aurora Ricart, Postdoctoral Scientist, Bigelow Laboratories for Ocean Sciences
Abstract: The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is essential to slow down the velocity of climate change. Likewise, the complementary implementation of other mitigation and adaptation strategies is equally important to increase environmental, social, and economic resilience. In the ocean, one strategy is to focus conservation and management actions on foundation species of marine macrophytes, such as seagrass meadows and kelp forests. First, the capacity of these systems to sequester carbon in the sediments (blue carbon) makes them carbon sinks at global scales. Second, the capacity of these systems to increase local mean pH by removing CO2 from seawater through net photosynthetic activity makes them important habitats to consider as ocean acidification (OA) refugia. However, while their carbon sink capacity is widely recognized, the capacity of marine macrophytes to effectively buffer OA is still an open question. In this talk, I will show the latter research I have developed on this topic in seagrass ecosystems and will give a glance at current and future work on kelp forests.
Bio: Dr. Aurora Ricart is a marine ecologist studying global change in coastal marine ecosystems. With a Master and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Barcelona (Spain) and wide international research experience, Dr. Ricart is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine, and the Bodega Marine Laboratory, California. Her research addresses questions in four main areas: Seascape ecology, Community ecology, Ecosystems resilience, Coastal carbon cycling. Her general approach consists of developing studies in field and lab settings to investigate (1) impacts of climate change, environmental change, and human action in foundation species of marine macrophytes (seagrasses and seaweeds), and (2) the potential of these ecosystems to combat climate change effects through carbon sequestration.