Sediment traps Recent and Holocene sediments
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract A synoptic study is carried out to reconstruct the development of the plankton community in the late Quaternary in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. It comprises quantitative analyses of coccolithophores, dinoflagellate cysts, diatoms and radiolarians. An actualistic approach is applied to evaluate the different fossil records of these plankton groups. The preliminary results of the current investigation are reported here. The composition and distribution of living communities of coccolithophores are presented as an example. A close relationship between the distribution of regional groups and surface water masses is observed. Seasonal vertical fluxes of coccolithophores and radiolarians through the water column show similar patterns within different years. However, diatoms are highly variable, both in absolute fluxes and species composition. The differentiation of sporadic and periodic processes is evident only after several years of observation. During settling and sedimentation biotic and abiotic processes such as grazing, dissolution and lateral transport alter the assemblages. Investigation of death assemblages in surface sediments reveals that in spite of these alteration processes the abundance and species distribution are related to surface water masses. Higher abundances and diversities are usually found in sediments underlying the warm Norwegian Current. Concentrations decrease to the north-west towards the cold polar water masses. The sediment assemblages of all groups are strongly altered relicts of former living communities. They are characterized by distinct changes in species composition and absolute abundances related to palaeo-oceanographic development. Their variation through the sedimentary record is used to distinguish four ecostratigraphic units during the late Weichselian and Holocene.
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