Carbon storage by Kerguelen zoobenthos as a negative feedback on climate change.
As oceans warm, reducing the extent of sea-ice and-ice shelves, increased carbon capture by phytoplankton and storage by southern polar benthos (sea bed organisms), is potentially the largest negative feedback on climate change. Teasing apart biological processes within and between geographic regions is vital to our understanding of global carbon capture. One of the biggest sources of error in this regard is understanding the extent to which this feedback is the direct and indirect effect of recent climate forcing on sub-Antarctic benthos performance (growth, metabolism, reproduction etc). This type of carbon sequestration, termed blue carbon, is hypothesised to increase, so long as sea-ice and iceshelf losses continue to be sustained in the Antarctic. The sub-Antarctic may differ, due to reduced, or in some cases, no sea-ice duration. Our research project, titled Antarctic Seabed Carbon Capture Change (ASCCC, www.asccc.co.uk) aims to understand the temporal and spatial complexity of polar benthic blue carbon sinks, and the marine ice-free Kerguelen Plateau provides a unique geographic testing ground for this.