Determining the absolute abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in recent marine sediments: The Lycopodium marker-grain method put to the test

Mertens, Kenneth Neil, Verhoeven, Koen, Verleye, Thomas, Louwye, Stephen, Amorim, Ana, Ribeiro, Sofia, Deaf, Amr S., Harding, Ian C., De Schepper, Stijn, González, Catalina, Kodrans-Nsiah, Monika, De Vernal, Anne, Henry, Maryse, Radi, Taoufik, Dybkjaer, Karen, Poulsen, Niels E., Feist-Burkhardt, Susanne, Chitolie, Jonah, Heilmann-Clausen, Claus, Londeix, Laurent, Turon, Jean-Louis, Marret, Fabienne, Matthiessen, Jens, McCarthy, Francine M.G., Prasad, Vandana, Pospelova, Vera, Kyffin Hughes, Jane E., Riding, James B., Rochon, André, Sangiorgi, Francesca, Welters, Natasja, Sinclair, Natalie, Thun, Christian, Soliman, Ali, Van Nieuwenhove, Nicolas, Vink, Annemiek and Young, Martin (2009) Determining the absolute abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in recent marine sediments: The Lycopodium marker-grain method put to the test. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 157, (3-4), 238-252. (doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2009.05.004).


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Absolute abundances (concentrations) of dinoflagellate cysts are often determined through the addition of Lycopodium clavatum marker-grains as a spike to a sample before palynological processing. An inter-laboratory calibration exercise was set up in order to test the comparability of results obtained in different laboratories, each using its own preparation method. Each of the 23 laboratories received the same amount of homogenized splits of four Quaternary sediment samples. The samples originate from different localities and consisted of a variety of lithologies. Dinoflagellate cysts were extracted and counted, and relative and absolute abundances were calculated. The relative abundances proved to be fairly reproducible, notwithstanding a need for taxonomic calibration. By contrast, excessive loss of Lycopodium spores during sample preparation resulted in non-reproducibility of absolute abundances. Use of oxidation, KOH, warm acids, acetolysis, mesh sizes larger than 15 µm and long ultrasonication (> 1 min) must be avoided to determine reproducible absolute abundances. The results of this work therefore indicate that the dinoflagellate cyst worker should make a choice between using the proposed standard method which circumvents critical steps, adding Lycopodium tablets at the end of the preparation and using an alternative method.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2009.05.004
ISSNs: 0034-6667 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 73465
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
November 2009Published
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:06

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