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Group 2i Isochrysidales produce characteristic alkenones reflecting sea ice distribution
Wang, K.J.; Huang, Y.; Majaneva, M.; Belt, S.T.; Liao, S.; Novak, J.; Kartzinel, T.R.; Herbert, T.D.; Richter, N.; Cabedo-Sanz, P. (2021). Group 2i Isochrysidales produce characteristic alkenones reflecting sea ice distribution. Nature Comm. 12: 15.

Bijhorende data:
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723; e-ISSN 2041-1723, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Auteurs  Top 
  • Wang, K.J.
  • Huang, Y.
  • Majaneva, M.
  • Belt, S.T.
  • Liao, S.
  • Novak, J.
  • Kartzinel, T.R.
  • Herbert, T.D.
  • Richter, N., meer
  • Cabedo-Sanz, P.


    Alkenones are biomarkers produced solely by algae in the order Isochrysidales that have been used to reconstruct sea surface temperature (SST) since the 1980s. However, alkenone-based SST reconstructions in the northern high latitude oceans show significant bias towards warmer temperatures in core-tops, diverge from other SST proxies in down core records, and are often accompanied by anomalously high relative abundance of the C37 tetra-unsaturated methyl alkenone (%C37:4 ). Elevated %C37:4 is widely interpreted as an indicator of low sea surface salinity from polar water masses, but its biological source has thus far remained elusive. Here we identify a lineage of Isochrysidales that is responsible for elevated C37:4 methyl alkenone in the northern high latitude oceans through next-generation sequencing and lab-culture experiments. This Isochrysidales lineage co-occurs widely with sea ice in marine environments and is distinct from other known marinealkenone-producers, namely Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica. More importantly, the %C37:4 in seawater filtered particulate organic matter and surface sediments is significantly correlated with annual mean sea ice concentrations. In sediment cores from the Svalbard region, the %C37:4 concentration aligns with the Greenland temperature record and other qualitative regional sea ice records spanning the past 14 kyrs, reflectingsea ice concentrations quantitatively. Our findings imply that %C 37:4 is a powerful proxy for reconstructing sea ice conditions in the high latitude oceans on thousand- and, potentially, on million-year timescales.

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