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Blue coloured picture of algae under water.
Photo: Karen Filbee Dexter

Isaac Santos awarded large grant for blue carbon from the Swedish Research Council


Isaac Santos, professor at the Department of Marine Sciences, has been awarded the Swedish Research Council's consolidation grant 2020 for the project "Resolving the missing carbon sink in blue carbon ecosystems: Oceanic outwelling".
“This project will put Sweden at the forefront of an exciting, new research field,” says Isaac Santos.

Coastal ecosystems, such as mangrove wetlands, eelgrass meadows and kelp forests are sensitive habitats that effectively sequester large amounts of carbon. Therefore, it is important to preserve these habitats to mitigate climate change. Organic carbon stored in sediments and seawater is referred to as “blue carbon”.

Portrait of Isaac Santos
Isaac Santos, professor at the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg.
Photo: Malin Arnesson

Blue carbon a promising solution to fight climate change

With the Swedish Research Council's research grant, Isaac Santos will now build a larger group to study blue carbon in Nordic coastal systems and complement ongoing research in Amazon mangroves funded by the Research Council last year.

“Blue carbon is a promising nature-based solution to fight climate change. This project will help to build the scientific foundations to use seagrass beds, macroalgae forests, and saltmarshes to sequester carbon,” says Isaac Santos.

Aquatic pathways of the carbon cycle

Previous research on carbon sinks has often focused on soils rather than seawater as a long term carbon sink, and much of the research in these blue carbon habitats has focused on quantifying soil and sediment carbon stocks and burial. Much less is known about aquatic pathways of the carbon cycle, and how soil carbon is eventually lost to and/or stored in the ocean.

– This study will help to reduce the knowledge gaps in understanding the carbon cycle of coastal environments. The new department research vessel Skagerak is essential to this project, and we look forward to using the vessel for this work, says Isaac Santos.

Blue carbon plays a key role

Organic carbon stored in seabeds, seawater or marine species is referred to as blue carbon. Blue carbon reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It consequently plays a key role in the Earth’s ability to mitigate climate change.

Text: Annika Wall

FACTS The Swedish Research Council's consolidation grant 2020

Project: "Resolving the missing carbon sink in blue carbon ecosystems: Oceanic outwelling"
Total amount: SEK 9, 126, 000
Success rate: 7%.