An integrated ecosystem approach for assessing the potential role of cultivated bivalve shells as part of the carbon trading system

Ramón Filgueira, C.J. Byron, L.A. Comeau, B. Costa-Pierce, Peter J. Cranford, J.G. Ferreira, J. Grant, T. Guyondet, H.M. Jansen, T. Landry, C.W. McKindsey, Jens Kjerulf Petersen, G.K. Reid, S.M.C. Robinson, A. Small, R. Sonier, Ø. Strand, T. Strohmeier

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Abstract

The role of bivalve mariculture in the CO2 cycle has been commonly evaluated as the balance between respiration, shell calcium carbonate sequestration and CO2 release during biogenic calcification. However, this approach neglects the ecosystem implications of cultivating bivalves at high densities, e.g. the impact on phytoplankton dynamics and benthic-pelagic coupling, which can significantly contribute to the CO2 cycle. Therefore, an ecosystem approach that accounts for the trophic interactions of bivalve aquaculture, including dissolved and particulate organic and inorganic carbon cycling, is needed to provide a rigorous assessment of the role of bivalve mariculture in the CO2 cycle. On the other hand, the discussion about the inclusion of shells of cultured bivalves into the carbon trading system should be framed in the context of ecosystem goods and services. Humans culture bivalves with the aim of producing food, not sequestering CO2 in their shells, therefore the main ecosystem good provided by bivalve aquaculture is meat production, and shells should be considered as by-products of this human activity. This reasoning is key to split the CO2 released due to respiration between meat and shell when constructing a specific CO2 budget for shells for evaluating the potential of including bivalve shells, and not the whole organism, in the carbon trading system. Concluding, an integrated ecosystem approach as well as an understanding of the ecosystems goods and services of bivalve aquaculture are two essential requisites for providing a reliable assessment of the role of bivalve shells in the CO2 cycle
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume518
Pages (from-to)281-287
ISSN0171-8630
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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