Organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts and environmental analysis of surface sediments from the Northwest African upwelling area


In order to examine the spatial distribution of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) in recent sediments related to environmental conditions in the water column, thirty-two surface sediment samples from the NW African upwelling region (20-32°N) were investigated. Relative abundances of the dinocyst species show distinct regional differences allowing the separation of four hydrographic regimes. (1) In the area off Cape Ghir, which is characterized by most seasonal upwelling and river discharge, Lingulodinium machaerophorum strongly dominates the associations which are additionally characterized by cysts of Gymnodinium nolleri, cysts of Polykrikos kofoidii and cysts of Polykrikos schwartzii. (2) Off Cape Yubi, a region with increasing perennial upwelling, L. machaerophorum, Brigantedinium spp., species of the genus Impagidinium and cysts of Protoperidinium stellatum occur in highest relative abundances. (3) In coastal samples between Cape Ghir and Cape Yubi, Gymnodinium catenatum, species of the genus Impagidinium, Nematosphaeropsis labyrinthus, Operculodinium centrocarpum, cysts of P. stellatum and Selenopemphix nephroides determine the species composition. (4) Off Cape Blanc, where upwelling prevails perennially, and at offshore sites, heterotrophic dinocyst species show highest relative abundances. A Redundancy Analysis reveals fluvial mud, sea surface temperature and the depth of the mixed layer in boreal spring (spring) as the most important parameters relating to the dinocyst species association. Dinocyst accumulation rates were calculated for a subset of samples using well-constrained sedimentation rates. Highest accumulation rates with up to almost 80.000 cysts cm-2 ky-1 were found off Cape Ghir and Cape Yubi reflecting their eutrophic upwelling filaments. A Redundancy Analysis gives evidence that primary productivity and the input of fluvial mud are mostly related to the dinocyst association. By means of accumulation rate data, quantitative cyst production of individual species can be considered independently from the rest of the association, allowing autecological interpretations. We show that a combined interpretation of relative abundances and accumulation rates of dinocysts can lead to a better understanding of the productivity conditions off NW Africa.

Supplement to: Holzwarth, Ulrike; Esper, Oliver; Zonneveld, Karin A F (2010): Organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts as indicators of oceanographic conditions and terrigenous input in the NW African upwelling region. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 159(1-2), 35-55

Related Identifier IsSupplementTo
Metadata Access
Creator Holzwarth, Ulrike; Esper, Oliver ORCID logo; Zonneveld, Karin A F ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2009
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 2 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-18.262W, 20.647S, -10.083E, 30.880N); Agadir Canyon
Temporal Coverage Begin 1996-02-04T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2001-04-10T12:17:00Z