Messy. Muddy. Mangroves. 2021 Climate Intern Field Update

2021 Climate Intern, Paula Sternberg tells the story of what it’s really like to do field sampling in a mangrove forest, and explains the scientific questions driving her efforts. Read today’s blog to learn more about the efforts behind the data!

Versión en español al final.

Imagine you’re knee-deep in mud in the scorching Baja sun, you’re completely soaked in sweat, it smells of sulfur and decaying matter, and you’re using all of your strength to try to insert a giant metal tube into the ground. . . now that’s science! (Photo 1).

This is exactly what estimating underground carbon stocks looks like in a mangrove forest. That giant metal tube is actually a very helpful tool called a soil corer, and it can give us a vertical profile of what the earth looks like beneath the surface. It also helps us take soil samples at specific depths, which we later analyze to find the percent organic carbon.

Specifically, my team and I are interested in comparing different types of corers that can be used to measure underground carbon. This way, we can directly compare how accurate each coring method is and eventually develop a conversion system that accounts for the disturbances produced by each one.