Despite being a major component in the mangrove carbon (blue carbon) budget, “outwelling” flux (or export to the sea) has gained little attention relative to other biogeochemical fluxes and reservoir carbon stock estimations. This study aims to estimate lateral exchange fluxes of dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC, POC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from the watershed through a microtidal mangrove-dominated estuary to the coastal sea in Panay Island, Philippines. Along the estuarine transect, consistent addition of DOC, DIC, and POC at higher salinities were attributed to mangrove organic matter input. Upstream groundwater input (carbonate weathering) and downstream mangrove organic matter decomposition (possibly sulfate reduction) were the main controls on DIC. DOC corresponded to relatively pure mangrove sources in creek water, while POC was a mixture of detrital and algal organic matter. The mangrove system acted as net exporter of carbon to the sea in both dry and wet seasons. From short-term observations, outwelling fluxes of mangrove-derived DOC, DIC, and POC contributed 27–53%, 8–31%, and 42%, respectively, to their estuarine outflow. Unlike other studies, such low percentage for DIC might result from other external nonmangrove input (e.g., watershed carbonate weathering). Overall estuarine carbon flux was dominated by DIC (90–95%) with only minor contribution from DOC. The approach utilized in this study to estimate lateral carbon flux specific to a small mangrove setting can be useful in delineating blue carbon budgets that avoid geographical and methodological biases. © 2021 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.
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