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Primary production in Lake La Cruz (Spain) over the last four centuries: reconstruction based on sedimentary signal of photosynthetic pigments

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JournalJournal of paleolimnology
DatePublished - Apr 2010
Issue number4
Volume43
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)771-786
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We analysed photosynthetic pigments in annually laminated sediment of meromictic Lake La Cruz, Spain, to cope with the timing and characterisation of primary productivity changes over the last four centuries. The photosynthetic pigments identified included chlorophyll a and b (and its derivatives) and specific carotenoids of different algal groups, such as zeaxanthin, lutein, alloxanthin, diadinoxanthin and diatoxanthin among others. Marker pigments of phototrophic sulfur bacteria were also observed, including bacteriochlorophyll a derivatives, homologue series of bacteriophaeophytins d and bacterial carotenoids okenone and chlorobactene. We investigated the diagenetic processes of pigment alteration in anoxic sediments and the possible implications for paleoproductivity reconstruction and interpretation. The lack of systematic down-core changes in diagenetic indicators suggests that variability of sedimentary pigment concentrations is the result of changes in lake productivity. The lower concentration of algal photosynthetic pigments in the bottom of sediment sequence corresponds to the onset of meromictic conditions. Before that, sediment was not continuously anoxic and the preservation of pigments was reduced. Regarding photosynthetic bacteria, green sulfur bacteria derivatives indicate that population growth was limited until the settled organic matter was sufficient to provide enough sulphide. Moreover, the presence of bacterioviridine, an oxidised derivative of bacteriochlorophyll a, suggest the competitive relation among photosynthetic bacteria. The high relative abundance of zeaxanthin indicates the dominance of picocyanobacteria in the primary productivity over the last centuries. Fluctuations of the pigment signal observed in the sediment sequence during the meromictic period were well correlated with fluctuations of solar activity.

    Research areas

  • Photosynthetic pigments, Primary productivity, Picocyanobacteria, Meromixis, Solar forcing, STERYL CHLORIN ESTERS, MEROMICTIC LAKE, FOSSIL PIGMENTS, LIGHT QUALITY, CHLOROPHYLL-A, ENVIRONMENTAL-CHANGE, SULFUR BACTERIA, VARVE THICKNESS, CLIMATE-CHANGE, PHYTOPLANKTON

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