Integral functions of marine vertebrates in the ocean carbon cycle and climate change mitigation

Angela Helen Martin, Heidi Christine Pearson, Grace Kathleen Saba, Esben Moland Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In the last decade, the ocean has absorbed a quarter of the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions through the carbon (C) cycle, a naturally occurring process. Aspects of the ocean C cycle are now being incorporated into climate change mitigation and adaptation plans. Currently, too little is known about marine vertebrate C functions for their inclusion in policies. Fortunately, marine vertebrate biology, behavior, and ecology through the lens of C and nutrient cycling and flux is an emerging area of research that is rich in existing data. This review uses literature and trusted data sources to describe marine vertebrate C interactions, provides quantification where possible, and highlights knowledge gaps. Implications of better understanding the integral functions of marine vertebrates in the ocean C cycle include the need for consideration of these functions both in policies on nature-based climate change mitigation and adaptation, and in management of marine vertebrate populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-693
Number of pages14
JournalOne Earth
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 21 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • blue carbon
  • carbon cycle
  • carbon sequestration
  • carbon sink
  • climate change
  • ecosystem services
  • fish
  • marine vertebrates
  • ocean health
  • sustainable use
  • whales
  • zoogeochemical effects


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