Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 387–392 | Cite as

H-Print: a new chemical fingerprinting approach for distinguishing primary production sources in Arctic ecosystems

  • T. A. BrownEmail author
  • D. J. Yurkowski
  • S. H. Ferguson
  • C. Alexander
  • S. T. Belt
Original Paper


The unambiguous identification of discrete sources of organic matter is critical for understanding the processes that affect ecosystem structure. Here, we demonstrate how changes in the relative proportions of highly branched isoprenoid lipids can provide a straightforward analytical method to distinguish between organic matter derived from sea ice and seawater within an Arctic ecosystem. In combination with stable isotope analysis, we reconstruct the organic matter pathway across trophic levels, thereby elucidating specific organic matter energy transfers. Combined, these methods will provide a useful analytical approach for determining ecosystem structure in the future. This is likely to become increasingly important as the Arctic continues to experience a phase of rapid climate change.


Highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) Diatom Arctic Ecosystem Ringed seals H-Print 



TB and SB would like to thank Plymouth University for financial support. We also thank the Holman Hunters and Trappers Association for collecting seals, and in particular, Lois Harwood and John Alikamik. Collections were conducted under a Fisheries and Oceans Canada license to fish for scientific purposes (S-11/12-1010-NU-A1), supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada—Ocean Tracking Network (DJY).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. A. Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. J. Yurkowski
    • 2
  • S. H. Ferguson
    • 3
  • C. Alexander
    • 1
  • S. T. Belt
    • 1
  1. 1.Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental SciencesPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Fisheries and Oceans CanadaFreshwater InstituteWinnipegCanada

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