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Modem organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts in arctic marine environments and their (paleo-) environmental significance

Abstract

The Arctic Ocean is one of the least known marine regions of the world. Because of its major influence on global climate and its hostile environmental conditions it is a fascinating area for paleoecological, paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic research. The composition of planktic microfossil assemblages, and both the trace-element and stable isotope compositions of hard parts, provide us with valuable information about the physical and biochemical parameters of surface waters in the high northern latitudes. Calcareous and biosiliceous microfossils that are traditionally used in Quaternary paleoenvironmental studies are of limited value in the Arctic Ocean because of their low abundances, low diversity and/or low preservation potential. The past several decades have seen considerable progress in our knowledge of the ecology and biogeography of dinoflagellates and their organic-walled cysts in the high northern latitudes, and these dinoflagellate cysts are now important proxies for reconstructing surface water conditions in the Quaternary. This arcticle gives an overview of the ecology of dinoflagellates and their cysts, the processes that transform the living communities into sediment communities, and the environmental gradients that may be reconstructed from fossil dinoflagellate cysts assemblages in the high northern latitudes.

Kurzfassung

Der Arktische Ozean ist eine der am wenigsten untersuchten marinen Regionen des Weltozeans. Durch seinen Einfluss auf das globale Klima und die lebensfeindlichen Umweltbedingungen ist es eines der faszinierendsten Gebiete für paläoökologische, paläoklimatische und paläoozeanographische Forschung. Die Zusammensetzung der planktischen Mikrofossilvergesellschaftungen, sowie die Spurenelement- und die stabile Isotopenzusammensetzung der Hartteile, liefern wertvolle Informationen über physikalische und biochemische Parameter der Oberflächenwas-sermassen in den hohen nördlichen Breiten. Kalkige und kieselige Mikrofossilien, die traditionell in Paläoumwelt-studien des Quartärs benutzt werden, sind aufgrund von geringen Häufigkeiten, geringer Diversität und/oder geringem Fossilisationspotenzial von eingeschränkter Bedeutung. Beträchtlicher Fortschritt wurde in unseren Kenntnissen der Ökologie und Biogeographie der Dinoflagellaten und ihrer Zysten in den polaren und subpolaren Gebiete der hohen nördlichen Breiten in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten gemacht, und diese organisch-wandigen Mikrofossilien sind deshalb wichtige Proxies für die Rekonstruktion der Eigenschaften der oberflächennahen Wassermassen im Quartär. Diese Arbeit gibt einen Überblick über die Ökologie der Dinoflagellaten und ihrer Zysten, der Prozesse, die die Lebendgemeinschaften in Sedimentgemeinschaften umwandeln, und den Umweltgradienten, die mit den fossilen Dinoflagellaten-Zysten Vergesellschaftungen in den hohen nördlichen Breiten rekonstruiert werden können.

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Matthiessen, J., de Vernal, A., Head, M. et al. Modem organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts in arctic marine environments and their (paleo-) environmental significance. Paläontol Z 79, 3–51 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03021752

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Keywords

  • Dinoflagellates
  • dinoflagellate cysts
  • morphology
  • (paleo-) ecology
  • Arctic Ocean

Schlüsselwörter

  • Dinoflagellaten
  • Dinoflagellaten-Zysten
  • Morphologie
  • (Paläo-) Ökologie
  • Arktischer Ozean