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Testing the alkenone D/H ratio as a paleo indicator of sea surface salinity in a coastal ocean margin (Mozambique Channel)
Kasper, S.; van der Meer, M.T.J.; Castañeda, I.S; Tjallingii, R.; Brummer, G.J.A.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Schouten, S. (2015). Testing the alkenone D/H ratio as a paleo indicator of sea surface salinity in a coastal ocean margin (Mozambique Channel). Org. Geochem. 78: 62-68. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2014.10.011

Additional info:
In: Organic Geochemistry. Elsevier: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0146-6380, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    Stable hydrogen isotopes; Alkenones; Salinity; BIT index; Coastal environment; Mozambique Channel; Zambezi River; Glacial; Interglacial

Authors  Top 
  • Kasper, S., more
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., more
  • Castañeda, I.S, more
  • Tjallingii, R., more
  • Brummer, G.J.A., more
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more
  • Schouten, S., more

Abstract
    Reconstructing past ocean salinity is important for assessing paleoceanographic change and therefore past climatic dynamics. Commonly, sea water salinity reconstruction is based on planktonic foraminifera oxygen isotope values combined with sea surface temperature reconstruction. However, the approach relies on multiple proxies, resulting in rather large uncertainty and, consequently, relatively low accuracy of salinity estimates. An alternative tool for past ocean salinity reconstruction is the hydrogen isotope composition of long chain (C37) alkenones (dDalkenone). Here, we have applied dDalkenone to a 39 ka sedimentary record from the Eastern South African continental shelf in the Mozambique Channel, close to the Zambezi River mouth. Despite changes in global seawater dD related to glacial – interglacial ice volume effects, no clear changes were observed in the dDalkenone record throughout the entire 39 ka. The BIT index record from the same core, which provides information on relative contributions of soil organic matter (OM) vs. marine input, indicates high soil OM input during the glacial and low input during the Holocene. This suggests a more pronounced freshwater influence at the core location during the glacial, resulting in alkenones depleted in D during that time, thereby explaining the lack of a clear glacial-interglacial alkenone dD shift. The correlation between the BIT index and dDalkenone during the glacial period suggests that increased continental runoff potentially changed the growth conditions of the alkenone-producing haptophytes, promoting coastal haptophyte species with generally more enriched dDalkenone values. We therefore suggest that the application of dDalkenone for reconstructing past salinity in coastal settings may be complicated by changes in the alkenone-producing haptophyte community.

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