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Special Issue "Marine Carbon Cycles"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Chen-Tung Arthur Chen

Department of Oceanography, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: carbon cycle; ocean acidification; global change; land-ocean interactions; hydrothermal activities
Guest Editor
Prof. Xuelu Gao

Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, Shandong 264003, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: trace metals; organic carbon; marine pollution; environmental quality
Guest Editor
Prof. Louis Lebel

Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental management; blue carbon; global change; policy and politics; land-ocean interactions; aquaculture
Guest Editor
Prof. Joji Ishizaka

Division for Land-Ocean Ecosystem Research, Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research (ISEE), Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: phytoplankton ecology; primary productivity; remote sensing; ocean trophic level (food web)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the largest carbon reservoir on the Earth’s surface, the ocean plays a vital role in regulating the world’s climate. Roughly one-third of the anthropogenic CO2 emitted since 1800 has entered the oceans in the form of inorganic carbon. There is now 50 times as much dissolved CO2 in the oceans as CO2 in the atmosphere. Perhaps one-third of the total anthropogenic CO2 that might potentially be stored in the ocean in the longer-term has already been stored. Phytoplankton in the open oceans and vegetated coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes are also highly efficient carbon sinks, hence the term ‘blue carbon’.

Research over the past few decades has greatly expanded the science of the marine carbon cycle. Now the main processes of carbon movement within the marine systems have been elucidated, the accuracy of the carbon budget has increased, and the challenges to a sustainable ocean carbon cycle are better understood. Yet, more secrets are awaiting to be discovered and shared.

We invite investigators to contribute original research as well as review articles that deal with documentation and interpretation of the scope of marine carbon cycles. This includes, but is not limited to, consideration of the underlying physical and biogeochemical carbon-involved processes driving environmental, geochemical, ecological and biological changes, responses, and sustainability of the oceans. Environments of interest include any geographical divisions from coastal seas to deep oceans. Theoretical and fundamental subject areas of research (e.g., new research area as well as modeling, mitigation strategies and policy making related to ocean acidification, time series, geoengineering, submarine groundwater discharge, and blue carbon) are welcome.

Prof. Chen-Tung Arthur Chen
Prof. Xuelu Gao
Prof. Louis Lebel
Prof. Joji Ishizaka
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • marine carbon cycle
  • ocean acidification
  • remote sensing
  • submarine groundwater discharge
  • bule carbon
  • marine ecosystems
  • mitigation strategies
  • policy making
  • geoengineering

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: On the Potential Use of Microalgae for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as part of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation – Perspectives and Considerations from A Norwegian Case Study
Author: Harald Throne Holst, Gunnar Vittersø, Line Barkved, Trine Dale
Abstract: Arguably, the need to move towards low carbon societies is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and controversial measures such as geoengineering are discussed as part of climate mitigation policies. In this context microalgae for carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been suggested as a measure with significant potentials. Microalgae are microscopic algae found in both marine and freshwater systems and they use carbon dioxide to grow. In this paper we examine the ethical, legal, societal and environmental aspects on the potential use of microalgae for CCS. The findings of the study are based on literature reviews, as well as interviews and a workshop with relevant actors in Norway. The study shed light on the role of research and policy in controversial climate mitigation activities, in this case related to marine resources, as well as how research activities could be assessed.

Title: Phytoplankton as key mediators of the biological carbon pump: their responses to a changing climate
Author: Samarpita Basu, Katherine R. M. Mackey
Abstract: The world’s oceans are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and currently account for removal of nearly one third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. The biological carbon pump plays a vital role in the net transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the oceans and then sediments, subsequently maintaining atmospheric CO2 at significantly lower levels than would be the case if it did not exist. The efficiency of the biological pump is a function of phytoplankton physiology and community structure, which are in turn governed by the physical and chemical conditions of the ocean. However, only few studies have focused on the importance of phytoplankton community structure to the biological pump. Marine phytoplankton contribute roughly one-half of the global net primary production, thus playing a key role in regulating global biogeochemical cycles. An improved understanding of how phytoplankton community size structure will respond to climate change is required to gain an insight on the biological pump and the ability of the ocean to act as a long-term sink for atmospheric carbon-dioxide. This review article aims to explore the potential impacts of predicted changes in global temperature and carbonate system on phytoplankton species composition, cell size and elemental composition, so as to shed light on the ability of the biological pump to sequester carbon in the future ocean.

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