Relative abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in surface sediments and dinoflagellate counts from three sediment cores from the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean


In this study we investigate the potential of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) as tools for quantifying past sea-surface temperatures (SST) in the Southern Ocean. For this purpose, a dinocyst reference dataset has been formed, based on 138 surface sediment samples from different circum-Antarctic environments. The dinocyst assemblages of these samples are composed of phototrophic (gonyaulacoid) and heterotrophic (protoperidinioid) species that provide a broad spectrum of palaeoenvironmental information. The relationship between the environmental parameters in the upper water column and the dinocyst distribution patterns of individual species has been established using the statistical method of Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). Among the variables tested, summer SST appeared to correspond to the maximum variance represented in the dataset.To establish quantitative summer SST reconstructions, a Modern Analogue Technique (MAT) has been performed on data from three Late Quaternary dinocyst records recovered from locations adjacent to prominent oceanic fronts in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. These dinocyst time series exhibit periodic changes in the dinocyst assemblage during the last two glacial/interglacial-cycles. During glacial conditions the relative abundance of protoperidinioid cysts was highest, whereas interglacial conditions are characterised by generally lower cyst concentrations and increased relative abundance of gonyaulacoid cysts. The MAT palaeotemperature estimates show trends in summer SST changes following the global oxygen isotope signal and a strong correlation with past temperatures of the last 140,000 years based on other proxies. However, by comparing the dinocyst results to quantitative estimates of summer SSTs based on diatoms, radiolarians and foraminifer-derived stable isotope records it can be shown that in several core intervals the dinocyst-based summer SSTs appeared to be extremely high. In these intervals the dinocyst record seems to be highly influenced by selective degradation, leading to unusual temperature ranges and to unrealistic palaeotemperatures. We used the selective degradation index (kt-index) to determine those intervals that have been biased by selective degradation in order to correct the palaeotemperature estimates. We show that after correction the dinocyst based SSTs correspond reasonably well with other palaeotemperature estimates for this region, supporting the great potential of dinoflagellate cysts as a basis for quantitative palaeoenvironmental studies.

Supplement to: Esper, Oliver; Zonneveld, Karin A F (2007): The potential of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts for the reconstruction of past sea-surface conditions in the Southern Ocean. Marine Micropaleontology, 65(3-4), 185-212

Related Identifier IsSupplementTo
Metadata Access
Creator Esper, Oliver ORCID logo; Zonneveld, Karin A F ORCID logo; Marret, Fabienne ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2007
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 4 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-167.626W, -69.313S, 12.155E, -30.438N); South African margin; Cape Basin; Brazil Basin; Southern Cape Basin; Mid Atlantic Ridge; Central South Atlantic; South Pacific; South Pacific Ocean; Indian Ocean; Southeast Pacific; Maud Rise; Atlantic Indik Ridge; Meteor Rise; Shona Ridge; Agulhas Basin; South Atlantic; South Atlantic Ocean; Bounty Trough, Southwest Pacific
Temporal Coverage Begin 1966-01-01T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2001-04-02T14:05:00Z