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Co-evolution of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem in the Holocene Baltic Sea
Weiss, G.M.; Lattaud, J.; van der Meer, M.T.J.; Eglinton, T.I. (2022). Co-evolution of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem in the Holocene Baltic Sea. Clim. Past 18(2): 233-248.

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In: Climate of the Past. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 1814-9324; e-ISSN 1814-9332, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Weiss, G.M., more
  • Lattaud, J., more
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., more
  • Eglinton, T.I.

    The Baltic Sea experienced changes in marine input throughout the Holocene as substantial regional ice retreat led to isostatic adjustment, eustatic sea level change, and periodic isolation from the North Sea. Here, we determine the distributions and isotopic signatures of organic compounds preserved in a sediment record spanning the last ∼11 kyr to reconstruct environmental change under these dynamic conditions. Carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios of short-, mid-, and long-chain n-alkanes, along with long-chain diol and glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether abundances, were analyzed in sediments sampled from the Arkona Basin in the southwestern Baltic Sea. In the earlier part of the record (specifically 10–8.2 ka), hydrogen isotope values of higher plant-derived n-alkanes revealed a change in dominant water source from an ice-melt-derived to a precipitation-dominated hydrological regime. Following this shift in water source, carbon isotope values of n-alkanes suggest diversification of vegetation. Shifts in hydrology and vegetation did not coincide with established phase boundaries but instead occurred mid-phase or spanned phase transitions. For this reason, we suggest describing the Ancylus Lake in two phases: a meltwater phase (10.6 to 9.2 ka) and a precipitation phase (9.2 to 7.7 ka). Our results highlight the utility of using C and H isotope ratios in conjunction with other compound abundance proxies to better understand the complex environmental change recorded in paleoarchives.

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