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Distribution of bacterial and archaeal ether lipids in soils and surface sediments of Tibetan lakes: Implications for GDGT-based proxies in saline high mountain lakes
Günther, F.; Thiele, A.; Gleixner, G.; Xu, B.Q.; Yao, T.; Schouten, S. (2014). Distribution of bacterial and archaeal ether lipids in soils and surface sediments of Tibetan lakes: Implications for GDGT-based proxies in saline high mountain lakes. Org. Geochem. 67: 19-30. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2013.11.014
In: Organic Geochemistry. Elsevier: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0146-6380, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Günther, F.
  • Thiele, A.
  • Gleixner, G.
  • Xu, B.Q.
  • Yao, T.
  • Schouten, S., more

Abstract
    Bacterial and archaeal lipids, such as glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) and dialkyl glycerol diethers, are increasingly used as proxies for specific environmental parameters, such as air temperature and soil pH in lacustrine environments. Little is known, however, about the distribution and applicability of bacterial and archaeal lipids on the Tibetan Plateau. We investigated nine different watersheds across the plateau by way of sediments from lakes and rivers, as well as the surrounding soils. Our transect study included a salinity gradient and focused on saline lakes, which are rarely examined. We analyzed archaeal isoprenoid (i) and bacterial branched (b) GDGTs, as well as archaeol to trace their sources and environmental factors, influencing their distributions. We could show that iGDGTs were produced in situ and bGDGTs were primarily soil-derived although we could not exclude in situ production of bGDGTs in the lakes. The most important environmental variables correlating with GDGT distributions were temperature and salinity. Bacterial GDGT distributions correlated mainly with salinity, while archaeal lipid distributions correlated with temperature. Based on the correlation of methylation (MBT) and cyclisation (CBT) indices of bGDGTs with pH and mean annual air temperature (MAAT), we established local calibrations for the Tibetan lakes. TEX86 could also be applied to reconstruct temperature, which was strongly biased towards measured summer lake water temperature, indicating enhanced production of iGDGTs in the summer months. Existing proxies show, therefore, potential for palaeoclimate reconstruction on the Tibetan Plateau if local calibrations are applied.

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