Carbon Sequestration of Biofouling Communities in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey

Abstract

Estuarine biofouling (epibiont) communities within Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, have the potential to serve as important factors in carbon sequestration. In this study we seek to elucidate the temporal and spatial variation within successional patterns of these communities. We placed 36 Hester Dendy Samplers (HDS) at The Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education in Ocean County, NJ, in Barnegat Bay for a three-month period. We returned once a month to remove three samplers from the site for analysis. In the lab, the organisms on the samplers were scraped off, dried, muffled and weighed to determine what percentage of the total mass was organic material. The material was then put into the Elemental Analyzer to determine what percentage of the organic material was carbon and nitrogen. We found that as the percent organic material per HDS increased, the amount of carbon sequestered also increased. More study must be done to determine if the amount of carbon sequestered by these organisms is significant as compared to other known carbon sequestering organisms; this study is ongoing.

Contributors

Mikayla Traini

Student Grant Awardee 2021