Paul Carnell

Paul Carnell
Deakin University · Centre for Integrative Ecology

PhD

About

48
Publications
14,177
Reads
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1,114
Citations
Introduction
My research aims to support government and non-government organisations to manage, protect and rehabilitate marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems. This is done via: 1) Evaluating ecosystem services and how they vary in time & space. 2) Developing effective & efficient monitoring programs that measure change in condition in an Adaptive Management Framework. 3) Creating Environmental- Economic accounts based on extent, condition and services data that aim to optimise the benefits of nature.
Additional affiliations
July 2014 - December 2016
Deakin University
Position
  • Research Associate
July 2010 - May 2014
University of Melbourne
Position
  • PhD Student
September 2008 - June 2010
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
Full-text available
Australia’s tidal marshes have suffered significant losses but their recently recognised importance in CO2 sequestration is creating opportunities for their protection and restoration. We compiled all available data on soil organic carbon (OC) storage in Australia’s tidal marshes (323 cores). OC stocks in the surface 1 m averaged 165.41 (SE 6.96) M...
Article
Full-text available
‘Blue carbon’ ecosystems—seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves—serve as dense carbon sinks important for reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, yet only recently have stock estimates emerged. We sampled 96 blue carbon ecosystems across the Victorian coastline (southeast Australia) to quantify total sediment stocks, variability acros...
Article
Identifying the major drivers of ecosystem change remains a central area of ecological research. Although top–down drivers of change have received particular focus, we still have little understanding of how consistently these factors control an ecosystem's shift in both directions, between different ecosystem states. Using a crossed experiment in a...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the impact of multiple stressors on ecosystems is of pronounced importance, particularly when one or more of those stressors is anthropogenic. Here we investigated the role of physical disturbance and increased nutrients on reefs dominated by the canopy-forming kelp Ecklonia radiata. We combined experimental kelp canopy removals and a...
Article
The restoration of blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, is increasingly used as a management tool to mitigate climate change by removing and sequestering atmospheric carbon in the ground. However, estimates of carbon-offset potential are currently based on data from natural mangrove forests, potentially leading to overestimating the ca...
Article
Freshwater wetlands are natural sinks of carbon; yet, wetland conversion for agricultural uses can shift these carbon sinks into large sources of greenhouse gases. We know that the anthropogenic alteration of wetland hydrology and the broad use of N-fertilizers can modify biogeochemical cycling, however, the extent of their combined effect on green...
Article
It is global practice to construct wetlands in urban environments to treat pollutants from stormwater and overland runoff. However, constructed wetlands can also trigger climatic consequences by releasing a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions via diffusion and ebullition. While diffusive emissions are broadly measured, assessing the ext...
Article
The value of critical habitats, such as seagrass, to act as a nursery varies spatially and temporally; however, such information is essential for the public and stakeholders to appropriately value and manage these habitats. We use an existing systematic long-term fisheries dataset in Port Phillip Bay to examine variability in nursery habitat value...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrient input from estuarine producers underpins coastal fisheries production and knowing which producers are the most responsible for fish diet helps effectively protect and restore coastal ecosystems. Focussing on the Richmond River in Australia as a case study, we sampled the main estuarine producers and estimated their proportional contributio...
Article
Mangroves are known to provide many ecosystem services, however there is little information on their potential role to cap and immobilise toxic levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). Using an Australian case study, we investigated the capacity of planted mangroves (Avicennia marina) to immobilise TPH within a small embayment (Stony Creek, Vi...
Article
To help mitigate the impacts of climate change, many nature-based solutions are being explored. These solutions involve protection and restoration of ecosystems that serve as efficient carbon sinks, including vegetated coastal ecosystems (VCEs: tidal marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows) also known as ‘Blue Carbon’ ecosystems. In fact, m...
Preprint
Full-text available
Underwater kelp forests have provided valuable ecosystem services for millennia. However, the global economic value of those services is largely unresolved. Kelp forests are also diminishing globally and efforts to manage these valuable resources are hindered without accurate estimates of the services kelp forests provide to society. We present the...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater wetlands are important carbon sinks with an estimated ~ 450 gigatons of carbon stored in their sediments. However, when disturbed they can become significant sources of carbon emissions. Understanding carbon dynamics in freshwater wetlands is a research priority to maximise carbon drawdown opportunities through effective management. Graz...
Article
Wetlands have a major influence on the global carbon cycle, with capacity to act as carbon 'sinks' or 'sources'. The source-sink capacity of wetlands is governed by microbially-mediated biogeochemical processes, which are furthermore regulated by environmental conditions. With growing interest in nature-based climate solutions, policymakers and res...
Article
Restoring and protecting “blue carbon” ecosystems - mangrove forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows - are proposed actions for increasing global carbon sequestration. To improve understanding of which management actions produce the greatest gains in sequestration, we used a spatially explicit model to compare carbon sequestration and its econ...
Article
Wetlands are among the earth's most efficient ecosystems for carbon sequestration, but can also emit potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) depending on how they are managed. Global management strategies have sought to maximize carbon drawdown by wetlands by manipulating wetland hydrology to inhibit bacterially-mediated emissions. However, it has recently...
Article
Full-text available
Seagrasses are among the Earth’s most efficient ecosystems for sequestering carbon, but are also in global decline, risking carbon they have accumulated over geological timescales. One contributor to this global decline is seagrass overgrazing by sea urchins; however, it is unknown how this may affect stocks of “blue carbon” by damaging the seagras...
Article
Full-text available
The global distribution of primary production and consumption by humans (fisheries) is well-documented, but we have no map linking the central ecological process of consumption within food webs to temperature and other ecological drivers. Using standardized assays that span 105° of latitude on four continents, we show that rates of bait consumption...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is influencing the frequency and severity of extreme events. This means that systems are experiencing novel or altered disturbance regimes, making it difficult to predict and manage for this impact on ecosystems. While there is established theory regarding how the frequency of disturbance influences ecosystems, how this interacts wit...
Article
Mangrove ecosystems are targeted for many conservation and rehabilitation efforts due to their ability to store large amounts of carbon in their living biomass and soil. Traditional methods to monitor above-ground biomass (AGB) rely on on-ground measurements, which are expensive, labour intensive and cover small spatial scales. Structure from Motio...
Article
Coastal ecosystems are estimated to support 95% of the world’s commercially-important fish, owing largely to their provision of nursery habitat for juveniles; however, systematic databases with such data are scarce. By systematically reviewing the literature across Australia, we quantified fisheries enhancement from three key coastal vegetated habi...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems (tidal marshes, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows) have been impacted and degraded by human intervention, mainly in the form of land acquisition. With increasing recognition of the role of blue carbon ecosystems in climate mitigation, protecting and rehabilitating these ecosystems becomes increasingly...
Article
Full-text available
Tidal marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows are important global carbon (C) sinks, commonly referred to as coastal “blue carbon”. However, these ecosystems are rapidly declining with little understanding of what drives the magnitude and variability of C associated with them, making strategic and effective management of blue C stocks chall...
Article
Full-text available
New technology reveals the value of the coast like never before
Article
Wetland ecosystems have a disproportionally large influence on the global carbon cycle. They can act as carbon sinks or sources depending upon their location, type, and condition. Rehabilitation of wetlands is gaining popularity as a nature-based approach to helping mitigate climate change; however, few studies have empirically tested the carbon be...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, freshwater wetlands are significant carbon sinks; however, altering a wetland’s hydrology can reduce its ability to sequester carbon and may lead to the release of previously stored soil carbon. Rehabilitating a wetland’s water table has the potential to restore the natural process of wetland soil carbon sequestration and storage. Further...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Ecosystems that fringe our coastlines – saltmarshes, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows – provide a bounty of benefits for Australians. These often-neglected ecosystems support livelihoods, provide a wonderland for recreation and enable mitigation and adaptation to the perils of a changing coastline. Whilst some of these benefits are difficult t...
Article
Full-text available
Policies aiming to preserve vegetated coastal ecosystems (VCE; tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrasses) to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions require national assessments of blue carbon resources. Here, we present organic carbon (C) storage in VCE across Australian climate regions and estimate potential annual CO2 emission benefits of VCE conservati...
Article
Full-text available
Wild capture fisheries provide substantial input to the global economy through employment and revenue. The coastal zone is especially productive, accounting for just 7% of the total area of the ocean, but supporting an estimated 50% of the world's fisheries. Vegetated coastal ecosystems—seagrass meadows, tidal marshes and mangrove forests—are widel...
Article
Full-text available
Viruses are non-living, acellular entities, and the most abundant biological agents on earth. They are widely acknowledged as having the capacity to influence global biogeochemical cycles by infecting the bacterial and archaeal populations that regulate carbon and nutrient turnover. Evidence suggests that the majority of viruses in wetlands are bac...
Article
Full-text available
Tidal marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows are important global carbon (C) sinks, commonly referred to as coastal blue carbon. However, these ecosystems are rapidly declining with little understanding of what drives the magnitude and variability of C associated with them, making strategic and effective management of blue C stocks challen...
Article
Full-text available
Managing changing ecosystems requires an understanding both of how the system is currently performing and of how current performance relates to long-term, often variable, natural dynamics. However, making such assessments usually relies on having long-term ecological datasets, leaving managers often reliant on assumptions because such information i...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers are increasingly studying carbon (C) storage by natural ecosystems for climate mitigation, including coastal 'blue carbon' ecosystems. Unfortunately, little guidance on how to achieve robust, cost-effective estimates of blue C stocks to inform inventories exists. We use existing data (492 cores) to develop recommendations on the samplin...
Article
Nontidal wetlands are estimated to contribute significantly to the soil carbon pool across the globe. However, our understanding of the occurrence and variability of carbon storage between wetland types and across regions represents a major impediment to the ability of nations to include wetlands in greenhouse gas inventories and carbon offset init...
Article
Full-text available
With the growing recognition that effective action on climate change will require a combination of emissions reductions and carbon sequestration, protecting, enhancing and restoring natural carbon sinks have become political priorities. Mangrove forests are considered some of the most carbon-dense ecosystems in the world with most of the carbon sto...
Article
Full-text available
In the version of this Article originally published, the potential carbon loss from soils as a result of mangrove deforestation was incorrectly given as ‘2.0–75 Tg C yr–1’; this should have read ‘2–8 Tg C yr–1’. The corresponding emissions were incorrectly given as ‘~7.3–275 Tg of CO2e’; this should have read ‘~7–29 Tg of CO2e’. The corresponding p...
Article
Full-text available
Mangrove soils represent a large sink for otherwise rapidly recycled carbon (C). However, widespread deforestation threatens the preservation of this important C stock. It is therefore imperative that global patterns in mangrove soil C stocks and their susceptibility to remineralization are understood. Here, we present patterns in mangrove soil C s...
Conference Paper
The ecological condition of Victoria’s Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries is the subject of a series of new report cards which assess condition in a consistent, logical and systematic way. Each report card identifies conservation objectives for focal ecosystems within the park, along with the key ecological attributes (KEAs) of each ecosy...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Vegetated coastal habitats—seagrasses, saltmarshes and mangroves—have recently been identified as among the most effective carbon sinks on the planet. They can bury carbon at a rate 35-57 times faster than tropical rainforests and can store carbon for thousands of years. Recent global data estimate that vegetated coastal habitats contribute 50% of...

Projects

Projects (7)
Project
Climatic extremes such as heat waves, storms and floods are predicted to increase with climate change. However, our understanding of the impacts of climate change have been based upon projected average increases in environmental variables. which means we have less of an understanding of how ecosystems respond to extreme events. One such extreme climatic event occurred between mid- 2010 and 2012, when south eastern Australia experienced an extreme La Nina event that resulted in significant rainfall events. This was preceded by an extended El Nino driven drought period. This combination of events led to more than double the nutrient loads entering Port Phillip Bay, in 2011 and 2012 compared to the 2006-2010 average. Here we document the positive and negative response of macroalgae, invertebrates and fish.
Project
We are currently preparing a review of sediment age dating studies in Australian wetlands, particularly those that also measured organic carbon content. Having both accumulation rate and organic carbon data will facilitate robust calculations of soil carbon sequestration rates for wetlands at local and nationwide levels. If interested, please fill out the brief metadata list below, send to paul.carnell@deakin.edu.au, and we will contact you about the suitability of your dataset for this review. Author/s contributing to this review: Number of sites and general region of study: Number of age dated soils in site/region: Number of age dated samples per core: (Can provide range if different at each site/core): Method of age dating/accretion rate calculation: Organic carbon and/or organic matter content: Data published or unpublished:
Project
The project will focus on saltmarshes, mangroves and seagrass habitats occurring in the focus areas of Port Phillip Bay (VIC), Western Port (VIC) and Richmond River (NSW): The project will develop models and spatial map layers compatible with the Global Mapping Ocean Wealth Mapping Portal (http://maps.oceanwealth.org/) which quantitatively or semi-quantitatively display location and aspects of social and/or economic value for i) coastal protection, ii) tourism and/or recreation, iii) fisheries and iv) blue carbon