Alkenones and alkenes in surface waters and sediments of the Southern Ocean


The concentration of C37-C39 long-chain alkenones and alkenes were determined in surface water and surface sediment samples from the subpolar waters of the Southern Ocean. Distributions of these compounds were similar in both sample sets indicating little differential degradation between or within compound classes. The relative amounts of the tri- to tetra-unsaturated C37 alkenones increased with increasing temperature for temperatures below 6°C similar to the di- and tri-unsaturated C37 alkenones. The C37 di-, tri-, and tetra-unsaturated methyl alkenones are used in paleotemperature calculations via the U37K and the U37K ratios. In these datasets, the relative abundances of the C37:2 and the C37.3 alkenones as a proportion of the total C37 alkenones were opposite and strongly related to temperature (the latter with more scatter), but the abundance of the C37:4 alkenone showed no relationship with temperature. The original definition of U37K includes the abundance of 37:4 in both the numerator and denominator, and thus it is perhaps not surprising that there is considerable scatter in the values obtained for U37K at low temperatures. Of the two, we suggest that U37K' is the better parameter for use in paleotemperature estimations, even in cold locations. U37K' values in the sediments fall on virtually the same regression line obtained for the water column samples of Sikes and Volkman (1993, doi:10.1016/0016-7037(93)90120-L), indicating that their calibration is suitable for use in Southern Ocean sediments. The comparison of water column data with sedimentary temperature estimates suggests that the alkenone distributions are dominated by contributions from the summer when the biomass of Emiliania huxleyi and presumably flux to the sediment, is expected to be high.

Supplement to: Sikes, Elisabeth L; Volkman, J K; Robertson, L G; Pichon, Jean-Jacques (1997): Alkenones and alkenes in surface waters and sediments of the Southern Ocean: Implications for paleotemperature estimation in polar regions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 61(7), 1495-1505

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Sikes, Elisabeth L ORCID logo; Volkman, J K; Robertson, L G; Pichon, Jean-Jacques
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 1997
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 (55.016W, -66.201S, 179.500E, -40.590N); South Pacific; South Pacific Ocean
Temporal Coverage Begin 1988-02-01T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 1993-05-05T00:00:00Z