The Sea & Climate Change Mitigation
The Blue Carbon Team of Salud Comcaac launched the 2023 summer season collecting dozens of seabed soil samples, monitoring the water quality of the estuaries and sea, and documenting mangrove carbon sequestration throughout the Infiernillo Channel located between Tiburon Island in the northeastern Gulf of California mainland. Project leaders Dr. Laura Monti and Gabriela Suarez-Gracida coordinated and led the work with the Comcaac team and researchers and students from three academic institutions in Sonora including, Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora, Instituto Tecnológico del Valle del Yaqui, and the Departamento de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas de Sonora.
BRN Team Dr. Laura Monti, Eliseo Barnett, Erika Barnett, Romelia Barnett, Rey Alfonso Morales, Christian Silva, a doctoral student at CIBNOR, and environmental science engineers Myrbeth Madueño and Heira Luque during the water quality sampling in the estuaries and the canal.
The analysis of carbon deposits in the Infiernillo Channel advances our knowledge of the locations and levels of carbon sequestered in the mangrove stands and eelgrass beds and expands the community’s understanding of the value of these ecosystems for climate change mitigation and ecosystem health in their fishing economy.
ITSON professor Dr. Zulia Sánchez, president of the Mexican Mangrove Committee A.C., environmental science engineers Myrbeth Madueño and Heira Luque. Romelia Barnett, Rey Alfonso Morales, and Eliseo Barnett taking soil samples in the mangroves.
The Comcaac scuba divers, conservation leaders, and boat captains provided their expertise while learning soil collection methods and water quality monitoring techniques working together with the university researchers and students led by Dr. Zulia Sánchez.
Adner Robles, Alfonso Méndez, Eliseo Barnett, Erika Barnett, Romelia Barnett, and Rey Alfonso Morales from the Comcaac team. ITSON professor Dr. Zulia Sánchez, Christian Silva a doctoral student at CIBNOR, and environmental science engineers Myrbeth Madueño and Heira Luque sampling marine substrate and water quality data collection in the Infiernillo Channel.
The group monitored 13 mangrove areas, nine of which are estuaries, in the Canal starting in the northern part in the Sargento estuary and finished at San Miguel and Santa Rosa estuaries in the south. The Comcaac team were thrilled to find successful establishment of many of the mangrove seedlings (Rizophora mangle) that they had cultivated and transplanted in 2021. The locations of these mangrove seedlings and eelgrass plants, despite the high summer temperatures and rising sea level, will help inform subsequent transplant locations.
Comcaac Blue carbon team members finished the season with Dr. Jony Torres and Dr. Ramón Barraza and students of Instituto Tecnológico del Valle del Yaqui and UNISON measuring the carbon content of the pneumatophores- the specialized roots of mangroves- and of the organic material and soil below the mangroves at two northernmost estuaries Sargento and Punta Perla. These additional measures will provide a more comprehensive picture of the importance of carbon sequestration provided by the mangrove and seagrass beds in comcaac territory.
Dr. Jony Torres, professor and researcher of the Instituto Tecnológico del Valle del Yaqui with his students Trinidad Sauceda Montijo and Carlos Omar Bringas, as well as, Dr. Ramón Barraza, professor and researcher of the Departamento de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas de Sonora, with his student José Miguel Gutiérrez, and Comcaac Team Filomena Barnett, Erika Barnett and Rey Alfonso Morales.
These joint efforts and partnerships with other institutions are part of Borderlands Restoration Network's Salud Comcaac Senior Fellow project led by Laurie Monti working to address climate change preparedness through ecosystem restoration with the Comcaac Indigenous Community of the Gulf of California, Sonora, Mexico, supported by 11th Hour Racing/The Schmidt Family Foundation.
Stay tuned for news in the late summer and fall 2023 season when the Comcaac mangrove restoration teams and volunteers will resume transplanting thousands of cultivated mangrove seedlings to expand the mangrove estuaries in the Infiernillo Channel.