Matthew experimented this past summer with methods to measure trace greenhouse gas emissions from restored seagrass meadows along the Virginia coast and will begin a seasonal monitoring campaign this fall. This work is part of a larger project quantifying the magnitude of the carbon storage and sequestration ecosystem service provided by seagrass. Carbon removed from the environment and stored by marine plants (’blue carbon’) helps offset carbon emitted to the atmosphere by human activities. By quantifying net greenhouse gas removal, seagrass restoration projects can apply for and receive carbon-offset credits, which can help finance restoration activities. Matthew recently presented work on seagrass carbon cycling at the Ecological Society of America conference in Baltimore and at the Long Term Ecological Research Network All Scientists Meeting in Colorado. He was appointed last fall to the National Blue Carbon Working Group, which includes individuals from academia, government, and non-profit organizations working to develop ’blue carbon’ sequestration projects in the United States. The group was organized by Restore America’s Estuaries and held its first annual meeting this past May in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Matthew also serves on the University of Virginia Committee on Sustainability, which advises the Board of Visitors, the Water Working Group, the Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee, and the university’s Water Reduction Goal Task Force. He is also a Smithsonian Institution Research Student at the National Museum of Natural History, where he continues work studying one of the museum’s fossil collections.