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Molecular Paleohydrology: Interpreting the Hydrogen- Isotopic Composition of Lipid Biomarkers from Photosynthesizing Organisms
Sachse, D.; Billault, I.; Bowen, G.J.; Chikaraishi, Y.; Dawson, T.E.; Feakins, S.J.; Freeman, Katherine; Magill, C.R.; McInerney, F.A.; van der Meer, M.T.J.; Polissar, P.; Robins, R.J.; Sachs, J.P.; Schmidt, H.L.; Sessions, A.L.; White, J.W.C.; West, J.B.; Kahmen, A. (2012). Molecular Paleohydrology: Interpreting the Hydrogen- Isotopic Composition of Lipid Biomarkers from Photosynthesizing Organisms. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 40: 221-249. dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105535
In: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Annual Reviews: Palo Alto, Calif.,. ISSN 0084-6597, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    paleoclimate; paleoclimate proxy; deuterium; organic geochemistry

Authors  Top 
  • Sachse, D.
  • Billault, I.
  • Bowen, G.J.
  • Chikaraishi, Y.
  • Dawson, T.E., more
  • Feakins, S.J.
  • Freeman, Katherine
  • Magill, C.R.
  • McInerney, F.A.
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., more
  • Polissar, P.
  • Robins, R.J.
  • Sachs, J.P.
  • Schmidt, H.L.
  • Sessions, A.L.
  • White, J.W.C.
  • West, J.B.
  • Kahmen, A.

Abstract
    Hydrogen-isotopic abundances of lipid biomarkers are emerging as important proxies in the study of ancient environments and ecosystems. A decade ago, pioneering studies made use of new analytical methods and demonstrated that the hydrogen-isotopic composition of individual lipids from aquatic and terrestrial organisms can be related to the composition of their growth (i.e., environmental) water. Subsequently, compound-specific deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratios of sedimentary biomarkers have been increasingly used as paleohydrological proxies over a range of geological timescales. Isotopic fractionation observed between hydrogen in environmental water and hydrogen in lipids, however, is sensitive to biochemical, physiological, and environmental influences on the composition of hydrogen available for biosynthesis in cells. Here we review the factors and processes that are known to influence the hydrogen-isotopic compositions of lipids-especially n-alkanes-from photosynthesizing organisms, and we provide a framework for interpreting their D/H ratios from ancient sediments and identify future research opportunities.

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