EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Carbon Burial in Shelf Sea Sediments – Anthropogenic Effects and Implications for Management

Lucas Porz1, Rumeysa Yilmaz1,2, Wenyan Zhang1, and Corinna Schrum1,2
Lucas Porz et al.
  • 1Institute of Coastal Systems, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 2Institute of Oceanography, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Many continental shelves host sediment depocenters which act as natural, long-term (>100 yr) carbon sinks. Human activities can strongly affect the efficiency with which carbon is sequestered in these depocenters, either through direct disturbances of the seafloor, or indirectly through climatic, light- or nutrient-induced changes, thereby affecting habitat and ecosystem functioning. In this study, we address the short- and long-term impacts of sea-use on carbon burial in the North Sea. Specifically, we focus on the role of bottom trawling as a crucial disturbance of seafloor sediments and benthic biota. In order to quantify the large-scale impact on carbon sequestration, we employ a numerical coastal ocean model to simulate the effects of demersal fishing gear on sediment transport, bioturbation efficiency and their interactions. Based on the results, the effects of potential management scenarios are discussed.

How to cite: Porz, L., Yilmaz, R., Zhang, W., and Schrum, C.: Carbon Burial in Shelf Sea Sediments – Anthropogenic Effects and Implications for Management, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5295,, 2023.