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The paleolimnologist's guide to compound-specific stable isotope analysis – an introduction to principles and applications of CSIA for Quaternary lake sediments

The paleolimnologist's guide to compound-specific stable isotope analysis – an introduction to principles and applications of CSIA for Quaternary lake sediments
The paleolimnologist's guide to compound-specific stable isotope analysis – an introduction to principles and applications of CSIA for Quaternary lake sediments

the stable isotope composition of key chemical elements for life on Earth (e.g., carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur) tracks changes in fluxes and turnover of these elements in the biogeosphere. Over the past 15–20 years, the potential to measure these isotopic compositions for individual, source-specific organic molecules (biomarkers) and to link them to a range of environmental conditions and processes has been unlocked and amplified by increasingly sensitive, affordable and wide-spread analytical technology. Paleoenvironmental research has seen enormous step-changes in our understanding of past ecosystem dynamics. Vital to these paradigm shifts is the need for well-constrained modern and recent analogues. Through increased understanding of these environments and their biological pathways we can successfully unravel past climatic changes and associated ecosystem adaption. With this review, we aim to introduce scientists working in the field of Quaternary paleolimnology to the tools that compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) provides for the gain of information on biogeochemical conditions in ancient environments. We provide information on fundamental principles and applications of novel and established CSIA applications based on the carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur isotopic composition of biomarkers. While biosynthesis, sources and associated isotope fractionation patterns of compounds such as n-alkanes are relatively well-constrained, new applications emerge from the increasing use of functionalized alkyl lipids, steroids, hopanoids, isoprenoids, GDGTs, pigments or cellulose. Biosynthesis and fractionation are not always fully understood. However, although analytical challenges remain, the future potential of deeper insights into ecosystem dynamics from the study of these compounds is also emerging.

Global, Paleoclimatology, Stable isotopes
0277-3791
101-133
Holtvoeth, Jens
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Whiteside, Jessica H.
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Engels, Stefan
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Freitas, Felipe S.
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Grice, Kliti
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Greenwood, Paul
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Johnson, Sean
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Kendall, Iain
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Lengger, Sabine K.
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Lücke, Andreas
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Mayr, Christoph
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Naafs, B. David A.
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Rohrssen, Megan
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Sepúlveda, Julio
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Holtvoeth, Jens
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Whiteside, Jessica H.
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Engels, Stefan
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Freitas, Felipe S.
6a0197b0-3755-4347-929e-c020498cd4b2
Grice, Kliti
81653f25-68b0-4da0-b8e2-34211dbc5239
Greenwood, Paul
584f669f-9e5e-49fa-bf29-4cbde7eff85f
Johnson, Sean
db7c98d4-81c7-4b64-8a25-27fa9941e244
Kendall, Iain
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Lengger, Sabine K.
93ef3c82-6526-427d-a10a-935dbc559d03
Lücke, Andreas
5d1eff36-ba4f-4545-adee-07195608d40d
Mayr, Christoph
f3fc2c52-e7ad-422a-b977-abe6e3b11b49
Naafs, B. David A.
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Rohrssen, Megan
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Sepúlveda, Julio
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Holtvoeth, Jens, Whiteside, Jessica H., Engels, Stefan, Freitas, Felipe S., Grice, Kliti, Greenwood, Paul, Johnson, Sean, Kendall, Iain, Lengger, Sabine K., Lücke, Andreas, Mayr, Christoph, Naafs, B. David A., Rohrssen, Megan and Sepúlveda, Julio (2019) The paleolimnologist's guide to compound-specific stable isotope analysis – an introduction to principles and applications of CSIA for Quaternary lake sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews, 207, 101-133. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.01.001).

Record type: Article

Abstract

the stable isotope composition of key chemical elements for life on Earth (e.g., carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur) tracks changes in fluxes and turnover of these elements in the biogeosphere. Over the past 15–20 years, the potential to measure these isotopic compositions for individual, source-specific organic molecules (biomarkers) and to link them to a range of environmental conditions and processes has been unlocked and amplified by increasingly sensitive, affordable and wide-spread analytical technology. Paleoenvironmental research has seen enormous step-changes in our understanding of past ecosystem dynamics. Vital to these paradigm shifts is the need for well-constrained modern and recent analogues. Through increased understanding of these environments and their biological pathways we can successfully unravel past climatic changes and associated ecosystem adaption. With this review, we aim to introduce scientists working in the field of Quaternary paleolimnology to the tools that compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) provides for the gain of information on biogeochemical conditions in ancient environments. We provide information on fundamental principles and applications of novel and established CSIA applications based on the carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur isotopic composition of biomarkers. While biosynthesis, sources and associated isotope fractionation patterns of compounds such as n-alkanes are relatively well-constrained, new applications emerge from the increasing use of functionalized alkyl lipids, steroids, hopanoids, isoprenoids, GDGTs, pigments or cellulose. Biosynthesis and fractionation are not always fully understood. However, although analytical challenges remain, the future potential of deeper insights into ecosystem dynamics from the study of these compounds is also emerging.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 January 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 February 2019
Published date: 1 March 2019
Keywords: Global, Paleoclimatology, Stable isotopes

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430784
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430784
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: 8287dbd7-61d1-4209-86bb-987567e2dfa9

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Date deposited: 10 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 03 Feb 2021 17:43

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Contributors

Author: Jens Holtvoeth
Author: Stefan Engels
Author: Felipe S. Freitas
Author: Kliti Grice
Author: Paul Greenwood
Author: Sean Johnson
Author: Iain Kendall
Author: Sabine K. Lengger
Author: Andreas Lücke
Author: Christoph Mayr
Author: B. David A. Naafs
Author: Megan Rohrssen
Author: Julio Sepúlveda

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