Site: Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER

Although estuaries are small in area, they play an outsized role in the global carbon budget.
Credit: Steven Pennings

Estuaries are net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere and coastal ocean, and net sinks for oceanic and atmospheric O2. This finding challenges the simplistic treatment of estuaries in global carbon models, and suggests that interactions between river discharge, changes in marsh area, and increasing atmospheric CO2 will alter shelf-ocean carbon exchange in the future.