CR 18:89-96 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/cr018089

Algal pigments in Baltic sediments as markers of ecosystem and climate changes

Grazyna Kowalewska*

Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Powstanców Warszawy 55, Sopot 81-712, Poland

ABSTRACT: Chlorophylls and their derivatives, as well as β-carotene, were determined in recent (0 to 10 cm, not older than 100 yr) and old (up to 600 cm, ~8000 yr old) sediments from the Baltic Sea. The data are related to environmental conditions and historical data of exceptional meteorological events that have taken place in Poland and neighbouring countries since the 10th century. The results for recent sediments indicate that pigments are sensitive markers of primary production and of algal groups dominating the overlying water column, but also of sedimentary and postdepositional conditions, especially anoxia and hydrodynamic changes. Studies on deep sediments suggest that climatic phenomena might have had comparable or even greater influence on algal growth in the Baltic environment than present day anthropogenic input, i.e. pollution.

KEY WORDS: Algae · Pigments · Sediments · Baltic · Ecosystem · Climate

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