Lipid biomarkers in Lake Enol (Asturias, Northern Spain): Coupled natural and human induced environmental history



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Ortiz, José E. and Sánchez-Palencia, Yolanda and Torres, Trinidad and Laura Domingo, Laura and Mata, M. Pilar and Vegas, Juana and Sánchez España, Javier and Morellón, Mario and Blanco, Lorena (2016) Lipid biomarkers in Lake Enol (Asturias, Northern Spain): Coupled natural and human induced environmental history. Organic Geochemistry, 92 . pp. 70-83. ISSN 0146-6380

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The lipid content of three cores from Lake Enol (Picos de Europa National Park, Asturias, Northern Spain) was studied. The n-alkane profiles indicated a major input from terrigenous plants [predominance of high molecular weight (HMW) alkanes] since ca. 1695 AD to the water body, although the uppermost cm revealed a predominance of organic matter (OM) derived from algae, as the most abundant alkane was C17. Three units revealing different environmental conditions were defined. Unit A (ca. 1695–1860 AD) in the lowermost parts of ENO13-10 (< 12 cm) and ENO13-15 (< 28 cm) was identified and was characterized by higher OM input and evidence of minimal degradation (high CPI values, predominance of HMW n-alkanoic acids and good correspondence between the predominant n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid chains). These findings could be linked to the Little Ice Age, when cold and humid conditions may have favored an increase in total organic carbon (TOC) and n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid content (greater terrigenous OM in-wash), and may have also reduced bacterial activity. In Unit B (ca. 1860–1980 AD) the lack of correspondence between the n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid profiles of ENO13-10 (12–4 cm) and ENO13-15 (28–8 cm) suggested a certain preferential microbial synthesis of long chain saturated fatty acids from primary OM and/or bacterial activity, coinciding with a decrease in OM input, which could be linked to the global warming that started in the second half of the 19th century. In ENO13-7 the low OM input (low TOC) was accompanied by some bacterial degradation (predominance of HMW n-alkanoic acids but with a bimodal distribution) in the lowermost 16–5 cm. Evidence of considerable phytoplankton productivity and microbial activity was especially significant in Unit C (ca. 1980–2013 AD) identified in the uppermost part of all three cores (5 cm in ENO13-7, 4 cm in ENO13-10 and 8 cm in ENO13-15), coinciding with higher concentrations of n-alkanes and n-alkanoic acids, which were considered to be linked to warmer and drier conditions, as well as to greater anthropogenic influence in modern times. Plant sterols, such as b-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol, were significantly present in the cores. In addition, fecal stanols, such as 24-ethylcoprostanol from herbivores, were present, thereby indicating a continuous and significant pollution input derived from these animals since the 17th century, being more important in the last 20 years.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:n-Alkanes, n-Alkanoic acids, Sterols, 24-Ethylcoprostanol, Palaeoenvironment , Lake Enol, Northern Spain
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geochemistry
ID Code:51765
Deposited On:13 Mar 2019 08:14
Last Modified:13 Mar 2019 08:14

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