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  1. Abstract The BlueFlux field campaign, supported by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, will develop prototype blue carbon products to inform coastal carbon management. While blue carbon has been suggested as a nature-based climate solution (NBS) to remove carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the atmosphere, these ecosystems also release additional greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane (CH 4 ) and are sensitive to disturbances including hurricanes and sea-level rise. To understand blue carbon as an NBS, BlueFlux is conducting multi-scale measurements of CO 2 and CH 4 fluxes across coastal landscapes, combined with long-term carbon burial, in Southern Florida using chambers, flux towers, and aircraft combined with remote-sensing observations for regional upscaling. During the first deployment in April 2022, CO 2 uptake and CH 4 emissions across the Everglades National Park averaged −4.9 ± 4.7 μ mol CO 2 m −2 s −1 and 19.8 ± 41.1 nmol CH 4 m −2 s −1 , respectively. When scaled to the region, mangrove CH 4 emissions offset the mangrove CO 2 uptake by about 5% (assuming a 100 year CH 4 global warming potential of 28), leading to total net uptake of 31.8 Tg CO 2 -eq y −1 . Subsequent field campaigns will measure diurnal and seasonal changes in emissions and integrate measurements of long-term carbon burial to develop comprehensive annual and long-term GHG budgets to inform blue carbon as a climate solution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Coastal wetlands are globally important stores of carbon (C). However, accelerated sea-level rise (SLR), increased saltwater intrusion, and modified freshwater discharge can contribute to the collapse of peat marshes, converting coastal peatlands into open water. Applying results from multiple experiments from sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense)-dominated freshwater and brackish water marshes in the Florida Coastal Everglades, we developed a system-level mechanistic peat elevation model (EvPEM). We applied the model to simulate net ecosystem C balance (NECB) and peat elevation in response to elevated salinity under inundation and drought exposure. Using a mass C balance approach, we estimated net gain in C and corresponding export of aquatic fluxes ( ) in the freshwater marsh under ambient conditions (NECB = 1119 ± 229 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 317 ± 186 gC m−2 year−1). In contrast, the brackish water marsh exhibited substantial peat loss and aquatic C export with ambient (NECB = −366 ± 15 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 311 ± 30 gC m−2 year−1) and elevated salinity (NECB = −594 ± 94 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 729 ± 142 gC m−2 year−1) under extended exposed conditions. Further, mass balance suggests a considerable decline in soil C and corresponding elevation loss with elevated salinity and seasonal dry-down. Applying EvPEM, we developed critical marsh net primary productivity (NPP) thresholds as a function of salinity to simulate accumulating, steady-state, and collapsing peat elevations. The optimization showed that ~150–1070 gC m−2 year−1 NPP could support a stable peat elevation (elevation change ≈ SLR), with the corresponding salinity ranging from 1 to 20 ppt under increasing inundation levels. The C budgeting and modeling illustrate the impacts of saltwater intrusion, inundation, and seasonal dry-down and reduce uncertainties in understanding the fate of coastal peat wetlands with SLR and freshwater restoration. The modeling results provide management targets for hydrologic restoration based on the ecological conditions needed to reduce the vulnerability of the Everglades' peat marshes to collapse. The approach can be extended to other coastal peatlands to quantify C loss and improve understanding of the influence of the biological controls on wetland C storage changes for coastal management. 
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  3. Abstract

    Plant identity and cover in coastal wetlands is changing in worldwide, and many subtropical salt marshes dominated by low‐stature herbaceous species are becoming woody mangroves. Yet, how changes affect coastal soil biogeochemical processes and belowground biomass before and after storms is uncertain. We experimentally manipulated the percent mangrove cover (Avicennia germinans) in 3 × 3 m cells embedded in 10 plots (24 × 42 m) comprising a gradient of marsh (e.g.,Spartina alterniflora,Batis maritima) and mangrove cover in Texas, USA. Hurricane Harvey made direct landfall over our site on 25 August 2017, providing a unique opportunity to test how plant composition mitigates hurricane effects on surface sediment accretion, soil chemistry (carbon, C; nitrogen, N; phosphorus, P; and sulfur, S), and root biomass. Data were collected before (2013 and 2016), one‐month after (2017), and one‐year after (2018) Hurricane Harvey crossed the area, allowing us to measure stocks before and after the hurricane. The accretion depth was higher in fringe compared with interior cells of plots, more variable in cells dominated by marsh than mangrove, and declined with increasing plot‐scale mangrove cover. The concentrations of P and δ34S in storm‐driven accreted surface sediments, and the concentrations of N, P, S, and δ34S in underlying soils (0–30 cm), decreased post‐hurricane, whereas the C concentrations in both compartments were unchanged. Root biomass in both marsh and mangrove cells was reduced by 80% in 2017 compared with previous dates and remained reduced in 2018. Post‐hurricane loss of root biomass in plots correlated with enhanced nutrient limitation. Total sulfide accumulation as indicated by δ34S, increased nutrient limitation, and decreased root biomass of both marshes and mangroves after hurricanes may affect ecosystem function and increase vulnerability in coastal wetlands to subsequent disturbances. Understanding how changes in plant composition in coastal ecosystems affects responses to hurricane disturbances is needed to assess coastal vulnerability.

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