Ten percent of all organic carbon (Corg) absorbed by the ocean each year is stored in seagrass-bearing sediments. The preservation of these carbon stores is considered a vital method to mitigate climate change. Seagrass-bearing sediments have been correlated with sediment geophysical properties yet have not been related to sediment acoustic properties. For this purpose, sediment cores were collected from a Thalassia testudinum seagrass meadow in South Texas, USA, where geophysical, acoustical, and Corg properties were measured. It is hypothesized that when deposits of Corg adsorb onto mineral surfaces and are stored in pore spaces, compliant layers between grain contacts and the formation of an organic-rich suspension reduce sediment stiffness. Results from this seagrass meadow demonstrated a strong correlation between sediment P wave modulus and Corg and show promise toward the development of an in situ ultrasonic sediment probe to more rapidly quantify and monitor seagrass carbon stores.
Venegas, Gabriel R.; Rahman, Abdullah; Lee, Kevin M.; Ballard, Megan S.; and Wilson, Preston S., "Toward the Ultrasonic Sensing of Organic Carbon in Seagrass-Bearing Sediments" (2019). Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations. 12.