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Seasonal variability of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) in a temperate lake system
Loomis, S.E.; Russell, J.M.; Heureux, A.M.; D'Andrea, W.J.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S. (2014). Seasonal variability of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) in a temperate lake system. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 144: 173–187.
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Loomis, S.E.
  • Russell, J.M.
  • Heureux, A.M.
  • D'Andrea, W.J.
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more

    Quantitative climate reconstructions are crucial for understanding the magnitude of and mechanisms behind natural and anthropogenic climate change, yet there are few proxies that can reliably reconstruct terrestrial temperature. Branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) are bacterial membrane lipids that are increasingly used to reconstruct paleotemperature from lake sediments, but despite their potential, we have a poor understanding of (1) autochthonous vs. allochthonous sources of brGDGTs in lakes and (2) the seasonality of and environmental controls on brGDGT production within lakes. To investigate these factors, we examined water column suspended particulate matter (SPM) and settling particles from a sediment trap collected on a biweekly to monthly basis over a period of three years at Lower King Pond, a small kettle lake in northern Vermont, USA. We also compared the concentration and fractional abundances of brGDGTs in SPM and settling particles with those of catchment soils, river sediments, and lake surface sediments to constrain the relative importance of brGDGTs derived from the landscape versus brGDGTs produced within the lake itself. We find significant differences in concentrations and fractional abundances of brGDGTs between soil and river sediment samples from the catchment and lake sediments, indicating a mostly autochthonous source for lacustrine brGDGTs. BrGDGT concentrations, fluxes, and fractional abundances in SPM vary over the annual cycle, indicating that brGDGTs are produced throughout the year and respond to changes within the water column. The total annual flux of brGDGTs settling through the water column is comparable to the brGDGT accumulation rates in surface sediments, indicating that in this lake brGDGTs are mostly produced within the water column, not in the sediment itself. While brGDGTs are produced in all seasons within the water column, the flux to the sediments is highest during periods of spring and fall isothermal mixing, potentially biasing paleotemperature reconstructions towards mixing season temperature. Because the seasonal timing and frequency of lake mixing varies as a function of regional climate, lacustrine brGDGT calibrations should be regional in nature and comprise lakes with similar mixing regimes.

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