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In the higher parts of the ecosystem that were closer to land, the research team found organisms typically found in tropical rainforests decomposing fallen wood. Organisms included fungi, beetle larvae and termites. In the land more toward the ocean, large woody debris was degraded faster by seaworms, which are worm-like clams with calcium carbonate shells.
Climate change has the potential to disrupt the delicate process of fixed carbon degradation in mangrove forests. First, climate change has caused sea levels to rise, which impacts the carbon cycle as it is driven by rising tides. Second, climate change has led to an increase in ocean acidification, which is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This can dissolve the shells of wood-degrading marine organisms in lower parts of the earth.
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“These data highlight the delicate balance between biodegrading organisms in wood and fallen mangrove wood. Mangrove forests are essential for mitigating climate change, and changes in the decomposition of fallen wood in forests will alter the cycles above-ground carbon, which may have an effect on the carbon stores of mangroves,” said lead author Dr. Ian Hendy, a study from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.
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“The team’s goal now is to use the results of this study to guide the large-scale restoration of mangrove forests around the world,” added Dr. Simon Cragg, co-author of the study. the University of Portsmouth.
Most of the emissions emitted, ranging from forest fires to smoldering industrial smokestacks, remain in the atmosphere. Many of these emissions release carbon, and when carbon in the environment increases, so does the temperature of the earth.
However, with more and more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, it becomes increasingly difficult for carbon sinks to maintain the correct balance of emissions and gases in the atmosphere.