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Emission of atmospherically significant halocarbons by naturally occurring and farmed tropical macroalgae

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Author(s)

  • Emma Leedham
  • Claire Hughes
  • Fiona Lin
  • Siew-Moy Phang
  • Gill Malin
  • William T. Sturges

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalBiogeosciences
DatePublished - 2013
Issue number6
Volume10
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)3615-3633
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Current estimates of global halocarbon emissions highlight the tropical coastal environment as an important source for very short-lived biogenic halocarbons. This assumption is often used in modeling data estimating global halocarbon emissions and their contribution to the stratospheric halogen budget. The tropics are also of importance due to deep convective systems which may provide a rapid transport mechanism, allowing short-lived halocarbons to reach the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere. Despite this importance, direct measurements of coastal halocarbon sources, including macroalgae (seaweeds), have not been made. In light of this, we provide the first dedicated study of halocarbon production by a range of 15 common tropical macroalgal species and compare these to results from previous incubations of polar and temperate macroalgae. Variation between species was considerable, CHBr3 measured at the end of a 24 hour incubation varied from 1.4 to 1129 pmol g FW-1 h-1. We also use calculated bromoform (CHBr3) production from tropical macroalgae to estimate Malaysian and South East Asian CHBr3 sea-air fluxes and regional annual emissions, calculating an average coastal flux of 32.8 nmol CHBr3 m-2 h-1. We review and compare these values to previous estimates for the region, and conclude that the contribution of coastal CHBr3 emissions from macroalgae is likely lower than previously assumed. The contribution of tropical aquaculture to current emission budgets is considered. Whilst the current aquaculture contribution in this regional is small, the potential for substantial increases in aquaculture should be investigated further in terms of their impact on regional halocarbon budgets.

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