Long chain alkyl diols form a group of lipids occurring widely in marine environments. Recent studies have suggested several palaeoclimatological applications for proxies based on their distributions, but have also revealed uncertainty about their applicability. Here we evaluate the use of long chain 1,14-alkyl diol indices for reconstruction of temperature and upwelling conditions by comparing index values, obtained from a comprehensive set of marine surface sediments, with environmental factors such as sea surface temperature (SST), salinity and nutrient concentration. Previous studies of cultures indicated a strong effect of temperature on the degree of saturation and the chain length distribution of long chain 1,14-alkyl diols in Proboscia spp., quantified as the diol saturation index (DSI) and diol chain length index (DCI), respectively. However, values of these indices for surface sediments showed no relationship with annual mean SST of the overlying water. It remains unknown as to what determines the DSI, although our data suggest that it may be affected by diagenesis, while the relationship between temperature and DCI may be different for different Proboscia species. In addition, contributions from algae other than Proboscia diatoms may affect both indices, although our data provide no direct evidence for additional long chain 1,14-alkyl diol sources. Two other indices using the abundance of 1,14-diols vs. 1,13-diols and C30 1,15- diols have been applied previously as indicators for upwelling intensity at different locations. The geographical distribution of their values supports the use of 1,14 diols vs. 1,13 diols [C28 + C30 1,14-diols]/[(C28 + C30 1,13-diols) + (C28 + C30 1,14-diols)] as a general indicator for high nutrient or upwelling conditions.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geochemistry