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Download the protocol documents, field- and laboratory sheets, and data entry spreadsheets from figshare:

Protocol Link
Sediment Organic Matter https://doi.org/10.25573/serc.14925111


Seagrasses have evolved to live in extremely anoxic sediments, a result of the degradation of high concentrations of organic matter. The delivery of organic materials to the benthos is also known to be influenced by properties of the seagrass foodweb, such as epifaunal diversity and the presence of predators. Sediment characteristics are therefore linked to both the seagrasses themselves and the community they support. Sediment organic matter can be quantified using simple ‘loss-on-ignition’: the amount of organic material that is burned away at extremely high temperatures relative to more robust inorganic particles. This technique entails minimal effort in the field, and requires only a drying oven and combustion furnace in the lab.

seagrass sediment organic matter core

Measured Parameters

  • Percent organic matter ((dry weight - ash free dry mass)/dry weight)

Selected Literature

Canuel, E. A., Spivak, A. C., Waterson, E. J., & Emmett Duffy, J. (2007). Biodiversity and food web structure influence short-term accumulation of sediment organic matter in an experimental seagrass system. Limnology and oceanography, 52(2), 590-602.

Erftemeijer, P. L., & Koch, E. W. (2001). Sediment geology methods for seagrass habitat (pp. 345-367). In: Short, F. T., & Coles, R. G. (Eds.). Global seagrass research methods (Vol. 33). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier Science.

Rohr, M. E., Holmer, M., Baum, J. K., Bjork, M., Chin, D., Chalifour, L., … & Duffy, J. E. (2018). Blue Carbon Storage Capacity of Temperate Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Meadows. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32(10) 1457-1475.

Spivak, A. C., Canuel, E. A., Duffy, J. E., & Richardson, J. P. (2007). Top-down and bottom-up controls on sediment organic matter composition in an experimental seagrass ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography, 52(6), 2595-2607.