Blue Carbon Mapping and Carbon Markets

It is truly incredible how quickly time flies. I have recently moved onto the next phase of my internship mapping the seagrass, kelp, and salt marsh extents in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Most of my time has been spent trying to find alternative datasets to make sure all known habitat extents are included in my analysis. Based on the area I estimate through mapping I am calculating how much carbon is stored and sequestered in the sanctuary every year. Once my results are complete, I will determine how much money can be gained by entering into the voluntary carbon market and the social benefit to society by sequestering carbon. This analysis is vital for the sanctuary to understand how much carbon they have stored and how potential restoration projects of salt marsh and seagrass may increase that amount. Helping the sanctuary has expanded my knowledge of blue carbon and participated in a growing field that is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

In addition to mapping, I have been hard at work with my literature review of blue carbon. As a part of my work, I have been looking into alternative sources of carbon storage in the ocean such as whales (yes, whales!), phytoplankton, and fish. I met with a researcher from Scotland to understand how they incorporate alternative carbon sinks into their analysis of blue carbon in Scottish waters and how an alternative approach is essential to understand carbon systems. I enjoyed learning about these alternative approaches and how the results of their research can impact marine spatial planning to include large stores of carbon in the sediments. As my research moves forward, I hope to expand more of my knowledge in this area and include these aspects in my literature review.

So far, I have greatly enjoyed my experience which has been enhanced by my recent move back to Colorado for the summer. One of the greatest aspects about working from home is the ability to be transient and find the best and most effective workspace. For me, Rocky Mountain National Park is that place and hiking and wildlife viewing in my free time has helped me stay motivated and focused. Here is a picture of my recent run-in with a moose on my run and a view from one of my hikes!

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