Exotic Halophila stipulacea is an introduced carbon sink for the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Veronica Santinelli, Cristina Andolina, Salvatrice Vizzini, Helen Kaberi, Evangelos Papathanassiou, Salvatrice Vizzini, Eugenia T. Apostolaki

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon and nitrogen storage in exotic Halophila stipulacea were compared to that in native Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa meadows and adjacent unvegetated sediments of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and to that in native H. stipulacea of the Red Sea at sites with different biogeochemical conditions and level of human pressure. Exotic H. stipulacea possessed considerable storing capacity, with 2-fold higher Corg stock (0.71 ± 0.05 kg m−2 in the top 20 cm of sediment) and burial (14.78 gCorg m−2 y−1) than unvegetated areas and C. nodosa meadows and, surprisingly, comparable to P. oceanica. N (0.07 ± 0.01 kg m−2) and Cinorg (14.06 ± 8.02 kg m−2) stocks were similar between H. stipulacea and C. nodosa or unvegetated sediments, but different to P. oceanica. Corg and N stocks were higher in exotic than native H. stipulacea populations. Based on isotopic mixing model, organic material trapped in H. stipulacea sediments was mostly allochthonous (seagrass detritus 17% vs seston 67%). Corg stock was similar between monospecific and invaded C. nodosa meadows by H. stipulacea. Higher stocks were measured in the higher human pressure site. H. stipulacea introduction may contribute in the increase of carbon sequestration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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