, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 344–359

Animating the Carbon Cycle


    • School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale University
  • Peter A. Raymond
    • School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale University
  • James A. Estes
    • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California
  • Werner A. Kurz
    • Natural Resources CanadaCanadian Forest Service
  • Gordon W. Holtgrieve
    • School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesUniversity of Washington
  • Mark E. Ritchie
    • Department of BiologySyracuse University
  • Daniel E. Schindler
    • School of Aquatic and Fishery SciencesUniversity of Washington
  • Amanda C. Spivak
    • Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Rod W. Wilson
    • Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Exeter
  • Mark A. Bradford
    • School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale University
  • Villy Christensen
    • Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia
  • Linda Deegan
    • The Ecosystems Center Marine Biological Laboratory
  • Victor Smetacek
    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Michael J. Vanni
    • Department of Biology and Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology Graduate ProgramMiami University
  • Christopher C. Wilmers
    • Environmental Studies DepartmentUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1007/s10021-013-9715-7

Cite this article as:
Schmitz, O.J., Raymond, P.A., Estes, J.A. et al. Ecosystems (2014) 17: 344. doi:10.1007/s10021-013-9715-7


Understanding the biogeochemical processes regulating carbon cycling is central to mitigating atmospheric CO2 emissions. The role of living organisms has been accounted for, but the focus has traditionally been on contributions of plants and microbes. We develop the case that fully “animating” the carbon cycle requires broader consideration of the functional role of animals in mediating biogeochemical processes and quantification of their effects on carbon storage and exchange among terrestrial and aquatic reservoirs and the atmosphere. To encourage more hypothesis-driven experimental research that quantifies animal effects we discuss the mechanisms by which animals may affect carbon exchanges and storage within and among ecosystems and the atmosphere. We illustrate how those mechanisms lead to multiplier effects whose magnitudes may rival those of more traditional carbon storage and exchange rate estimates currently used in the carbon budget. Many animal species are already directly managed. Thus improved quantitative understanding of their influence on carbon budgets may create opportunity for management and policy to identify and implement new options for mitigating CO2 release at regional scales.

Key words:

animal mediation of carbon cyclinganimal multiplier effectsanimal management for carbon storagebiogeochemical cyclingregional carbon budgets

Supplementary material

10021_2013_9715_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)
10021_2013_9715_MOESM2_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 23 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013