International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 470–485 | Cite as

Freshwater chlorophycean algae in recent marine sediments of the Beaufort, Laptev and Kara Seas (Arctic Ocean) as indicators of river runoff

  • Jens Matthiessen
  • Martina Kunz-Pirrung
  • Peta J. Mudie
Original Paper

Abstract.

Freshwater chlorophycean algae are characteristic organic-walled microfossils in recent coastal and shelf sediments from the Beaufort, Laptev and Kara seas (Arctic Ocean). The persistent occurrence of the chlorophycean algae Pediastrum spp. and Botryococcus cf. braunii in marine palynomorph assemblages is related to the discharge of freshwater and suspended matter from the large Siberian and North American rivers into the Arctic shelf seas. The distribution patterns of these algae in the marine environments reflect the predominant deposition of riverine sediments and organic matter along the salinity gradient from the outer estuaries and prodeltas to the shelf break. Sedimentary processes overprint the primary distribution of these algae. Resuspension of sediments by waves and bottom currents may transport sediments in the bottom nepheloid layer along the submarine channels to the shelf break. Bottom sediments and microfossils may be incorporated into sea ice during freeze-up in autumn and winter leading to an export from the shelves into the deep sea. The presence of these freshwater algae in sea-ice and bottom sediments in the central Arctic Ocean confirm that transport in sea ice is an important process which leads to a redistribution of shallow water microfossils.

Arctic Ocean Beaufort Sea Laptev Sea Kara Sea Recent sediments Chlorophyte distribution Freshwater discharge 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Matthiessen
    • 1
  • Martina Kunz-Pirrung
    • 1
  • Peta J. Mudie
    • 2
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Columbusstrasse, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
  2. 2.Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic), P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada B2Y 4A2

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