Holocene changes in marine productivity and terrestrial organic carbon inputs into an Icelandic fjord: Application of molecular and bulk organic proxies

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This study examines the dynamics of organic carbon contributions from different sources to the sediments of a ~39 m core from Ísafjarðardjúp Fjord,
Northwest Iceland, throughout the Holocene. Furthermore, it shows that the variability of terrestrial organic carbon (OCterr) and marine organic carbon
(OCmar) is linked to palaeoclimatic change throughout the Holocene. glycerol-dialkyl-glycerol-tetraether (GDGT), alkenone, n-alkane, total OC and total
nitrogen analyses were conducted on 326 samples to yield high-resolution branched versus isoprenoid tetraether index (BIT-index), n-alkane/alkenone
index and C/N ratio records from ~10,800 to ~300 cal. a BP. These records were used to estimate the OCterr and the OCmar contributions to the sediments. Three different approaches of estimating the OCterr contribution yield different relative amounts, but similar long-term trends. These results indicate that the combination of biomarker records is a good approach to reconstruct OCterr contributions but also highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the individual biomarkers. The OCterr contribution to the total OC inventory continually increases throughout much of the Holocene but does not rise above 30%. It seems to have been driven by changing climate rather than changing sedimentation rates, and during the late Holocene, anthropogenic activity may have been an influence. The reconstructed OCmar contribution to the sediment was used to model changes in palaeoproductivity throughout the Holocene. These changes were likely forced by changes in nutrients supplied both by the catchment area and the Irminger Current.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1710
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number12
Early online date7 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013