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Thesis Abstract – Wheeler (2013)


Carbon Storage in Coastal Sage Scrub and Non-Native Grassland Habitats

Author and college:

Megan Wheeler, Harvey Mudd College


May 18, 2013


Bachelor of Science in Biology


Wallace Meyer, Department of Biology, Pomona College


Increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations are leading to increasing global temperatures. Because atmospheric CO2 concentrations are affected by carbon storage in terrestrial vegetation and soil, it is critical to understand how conversions from native to non-native vegetation may alter the carbon storage potential of terrestrial landscapes. In this study, we compared carbon storage in native coastal sage scrub (CSS), non-native grassland, and recovering CSS habitats by determining the carbon content in aboveground and belowground biomass, litter, and surface soil. Significantly more carbon was stored in CSS and recovering CSS than in grassland habitats. Intact and recovering CSS did not differ significantly in total carbon storage or in storage in any component. These results suggest that restoring CSS habitat not only preserves native biodiversity, but also increases carbon storage potential even before CSS is fully recovered.

For more information:

Contact Wallace Meyer, Pomona College – wallace.meyer@pomona.edu

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