Reconstructing the phytoplankton community of the Cariaco Basin during the Younger Dryas cold event using chlorin steryl esters
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A record of the downcore distribution of chlorin steryl esters (CSEs) through the Younger Dryas was produced from Cariaco Basin sediments in order to assess the potential use of CSEs as recorders of the structure of phytoplankton communities through time. Using an improved high-performance liquid chromatography method for the separation of CSEs, we find significant changes in the distribution of CSEs during the Younger Dryas in the Cariaco Basin. During the Younger Dryas, enhanced upwelling in the Cariaco Basin caused an increase in the diatom population and therefore an increase in the relative abundance of CSEs derived from diatoms. In contrast, the dinoflagellate population, and therefore CSEs derived from dinoflagellates, decreased in response to the climate change during the Younger Dryas. These community shifts agree well with the shifts observed in the present day on a seasonal basis that result from the north-south migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone over the Cariaco Basin. We also identify changes in the abundance of several CSEs that seem to reflect rapid warming and cooling events. This study suggests that CSEs are useful proxies for reconstructing phytoplankton communities and paleoenvironments.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Paleoceanography 19 (2004): PA01006, doi:10.1029/2003PA000907.
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