Earth and Planetary Science Letters | 2019

New insights into environmental controls on the occurrence and abundance of Group I alkenones and their paleoclimate applications: evidence from volcanic lakes of northeastern China



Abstract The distinctive long-chain alkenones (LCAs) produced by Group I Isochrysidales from freshwater and oligohaline lakes have great potential for quantitative paleotemperature reconstructions. The widespread application of sedimentary Group I LCAs, however, is hampered by an incomplete understanding of the environmental controls on the occurrence of Group I LCAs in freshwater lakes. The correspondence between Group I LCA concentrations and pH (6.2–8.5) in northern Alaskan freshwater lakes ( Longo et al., 2016 ) suggests that Group I Isochrysidales may preferentially thrive in freshwater lakes with high pH. Here, we systematically study LCA distributions, haptophyte-specific 18S rDNA sequences, and concentrations of major ions and trace elements in 18 freshwater volcanic lakes in northeastern China with an extended pH range from 7.17 to 9.99. We find that 11 of the 18 lakes examined contain Group I LCAs and the corresponding DNA sequences of their producers. Our DNA results indicate that the dominant alkenone producer in all 11 lakes is closely related to the Group I Greenland OTU 5 genotype, with the exception of two anthropogenically impacted lakes where small numbers of Group II sequences are found. Statistical analyses indicate that the highest concentrations of Group I LCAs are found in oligotrophic freshwater lakes with pH ranging from ∼7.3 to 8.8. We find that elevated concentrations of certain trace elements may lead to the disappearance of Group I LCAs despite lake water falling within the optimal pH range. Together with previously published Group I LCA data from the temperature calibration in Northern Hemisphere freshwater lakes ( Longo et al., 2018 ), we find, for the first time, that Group I R3b (R3b = C37:3b/(C38:3bEt + C37:3b)) values are most sensitive to winter temperature changes when mean winter temperature is higher than ∼ − 20 ° C . Our results suggest that the freshwater volcanic lakes in northeastern China are highly valuable targets for paleotemperature reconstructions using Group I LCAs.

Volume 527
Pages 115792
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115792
Language English
Journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters

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