Christos Katrantsiotis

Christos Katrantsiotis


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Works at Department of Physical Geography
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room X 422
Postal address Inst för naturgeografi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

My main interest is the reconstruction of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic changes using diatoms and biomarker lipids in sediment cores. My current research particularly focuses on the Mediterranean region and Northern Scandinavia.

My PhD aims to contribute to a better understanding of climate evolution and the related drivers in the central-eastern Mediterranean over the last 6000 years, a period of centennial-millennial climate changes whose nature is not well-understood. For the purpose of the investigation, sediment cores were retrieved from the Agios Floros fen and the Gialova lagoon in SW Peloponnese and the Ancient Lake Lerna in NE Peloponnese. The cores were analyzed for different biological (diatoms/pollen) and geochemical proxies (lipid biomarker compounds from plants). The locations of sites on SW-NE transect aims to establish a network of paleoclimatic data from different climatic zones of the Peloponnese. This further enables us to stress local climate differences and provide a more accurate assessment of the regional climatic variability and its connection to the large-scale atmospheric patterns.

In parallel to my PhD, I have been working in a project led by a group of Swedish and Finnish researchers from Helsinki University. The project is dealing with the Late Quaternary stratigraphy, environmental changes and climate variability at the high-latitude site Sokli, NE Finland. Within this project, I have performed diatom analysis and biomarker isotope analysis of sediments.

General scientific interests:
– Diatom morphology and taxonomy
– Organic geochemistry/biogeochemistry
– Application of compound-specific stable carbon and hydrogen isotopes and radiocarbon
– Paleoclimatology - paleohydrology - paleolimnology
– Climate dynamics


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Christos Katrantsiotis (et al.). The Holocene 26 (2), 188-204

    A paleolimnological record from the central Messenian plain (southwestern Peloponnese, southern Greece) indicates rapid changes in the water level and chemistry of a transient lake on the flanks of the Taygetos Mountains during the last c. 6000years. The analyses are based on diatoms as well as carbon and nitrogen isotopes from bulk sediments in a 7.5-m-long sediment core retrieved from the drained fen of Agios Floros, at the northern banks of the ancient River Pamisos. The sequence consists of fen peat in the uppermost section underlain by lacustrine sediments, which are punctuated by two layers of clay with diatomaceous silt bands. High accumulation rate is recorded in the oldest part of the section (up to 23mm/yr), particularly during two decadal-long periods centered at c. 5700 and c. 5300 cal. BP. The diatom record reveals pronounced peaks in the planktonic taxon Cyclotella distinguenda, which correspond to the laminated sequences, reflecting the rapid development of a deep lake with an open water environment during these two time periods. Another two events with intermediate water levels are inferred at c. 5200 and c. 4600 cal. BP. These short-lived phases were probably, to a large extent, caused by local tectonic processes and the consequent hydrological anomalies of the nearby karst springs, although abrupt climatic changes with enhanced precipitation might have also played a role. At c. 4500 cal. BP, our data suggest the development of terrestrial conditions in this area, which can be attributed to the decreasing activity/dry up of springs, probably associated with more arid climate. After c. 2500 cal. BP, the diatom record infers a return to wetter conditions, probably as a response to more humid climate with marked seasonality and human activities, developing the present-day environment with cultivated and seasonally semi-flooded fields.

  • 2016. Christos Katrantsiotis (et al.). Diatom Research 31 (3), 243-267

    In a previous palaeoenvironmental study based on a high-resolution diatom record from a core sampled at the Agios Floros fen, SW Peloponnese, Greece, Cyclotella distinguenda was reported as exhibiting two morphs with distinct central area and stria arrangement, as well as a specific distribution throughout the sequence. In the present paper, we examine this morphological variability through detailed observations using light and scanning electron microscope combined with a simple statistical approach. Our new data suggest that the two morphs present substantial and constant differences in the structure and size of their central areas, the structure and number of their striae, the arrangement of their marginal fultoportulae/density of costae between fultoportulae, the shape of their rimoportulae and their alveolar chambers. On the basis of these morphological and stratigraphic variations one morph is described as a new species, Cyclotella paradistinguenda sp. nov., while the other is assigned to C. distinguenda and is also consistent with the original description of this taxon. The two species share well-defined central areas without fultoportulae, almost equal length striae and one rimoportula situated on a costa within the ring of marginal fultoportulae. Cyclotella paradistinguenda sp. nov. can be distinguished by a combination of the following characteristics: (1) large central area (1/3 of valve diameter), smooth or decorated with puncta and depressions, flat or concentrically undulated, (2) distinct, narrow striae (12-15/10 mu m) consisting of one or two short rows of areolae of the same size expanding into three rows at the mantle, (3) marginal fultoportulae on each first to third costae (4) poorly developed alveolar chambers and rimoportula. Based on the stratigraphic distribution and the associated flora in the Agios Floros sequence, it can be inferred that C. paradistinguenda sp. nov. is tolerant of shallower water conditions with lower nutrient availability and/or higher pH than C. distinguenda.

  • 2018. Christos Katrantsiotis (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 194, 77-93

    Understanding past hydroclimate variability and related drivers is essential to improve climate forecasting capabilities especially in areas with high climatic sensitivity, such as the Mediterranean. This can be achieved by using a broad spectrum of high resolution, multiple proxy records which can also allow us to assess linkages between regional hydroclimate variability and shifts in the large-scale atmospheric patterns. Here, we present a multiproxy reconstruction of the central-eastern Mediterranean hydro climate changes over the last 3600 years based on a sediment core from the Gialova Lagoon, a shallow coastal ecosystem in SW Peloponnese, Greece. Our combined dataset consists of the distribution and compound-specific carbon and hydrogen isotope (delta C-13 and 8D) composition of n-alkanes, bulk organic matter properties and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning data. This approach was complemented with a semi-quantitative analysis of plant remains in the core. The results indicate a high contribution of local aquatic vegetation to organic matter. Large delta C-13 variations in predominantly aquatic plant-derived mid-chain alkanes (C23-23) mainly reflect changes in the aquatic plant abundance and their carbon source. Our data suggest that higher delta C-13(23-25) values (up to 19 parts per thousand) largely correspond to expansion of aquatic vegetation during wet and/or cold periods causing carbon-limiting conditions in the water and assimilation of isotopically-enriched bicarbonate by the plants. The 8D records of the individual n-alkanes (C-17 to C-31) exhibit a nearly identical pattern to each other, which implies that they all reflect changes in the source water isotope composition, driven by hydroclimate variability. In addition, the 8D profiles are consistent with the XRF data with both proxies being driven by a common hydroclimate signal. We observe two major shifts from dry and/or warm periods at ca 3600-3000 cal BP and ca 17001300 cal BP to wet and/or cold episodes at ca 3000-2700 cal BP and ca 1300-900 cal BP. The period ca 700-200 cal BP is the wettest and/or coldest in our record and coeval with the Little Ice Age. The climatic fluctuation reported in this study can be explained by the relative dominance of high-latitude (e.g. North Atlantic Oscillation during winters) and the low-latitude atmospheric patterns (Intertropical convergence zone, Subtropical High and the effects of Asian monsoons during summers) which suggests an Atlantic-Mediterranean-Monsoon climate link in this area for the late Holocene.

  • 2019. Christos Katrantsiotis (et al.). Global and Planetary Change 175, 36-51

    This research aims to improve the knowledge of the mid to late Holocene climate changes and the underlying drivers in the eastern Mediterranean. We focus on the Peloponnese peninsula, SW Greece, characterized by a W-E rainfall/temperature gradient and a strong climate-sensitivity to shifts in the large-scale atmospheric patterns. A radiocarbon-dated sediment core, taken from the ancient Lake Lerna, a former lake in NE Peloponnese, was analyzed for distribution and hydrogen isotope (δD) composition of n-alkanes and bulk organic geochemistry (δ13C, TOC). The predominantly macrophyte (submerged/floating)-derived δD23 profile exhibits the largest long-term fluctuation in the record and co-varies with δD of long-chain n-alkanes providing evidence for precipitation and temperature changes over the last 5000 years. The Lerna δD23 signal is sometimes in agreement with other n-alkane δD records from SW Peloponnese indicating wetter conditions in the peninsula at ca 5000–4600, ca 4500–4100, ca 3000–2600 (more unstable in SW) and after ca 700 cal BP with drier periods at ca 4100–3900 and ca 1000–700 cal BP. Conversely, a NE-SW climate see-saw is revealed at ca 4600–4500, ca 3200, ca 2600–1800, and ca 1200–1000 cal BP when the δD23 Lerna exhibits more positive trends (drier in NE) with a reversal at ca 3900–3300, ca 3200–3000 and ca 1800–1300 cal BP. These opposing and sometimes similar signals between NE and SW Peloponnese can be explained by the relative dominance of high-latitude atmospheric patterns over the peninsula. A similar signal would be expected when the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) exerts the main control with NAO (+) creating conditions of reduced moisture. The dipole pattern is likely driven by shifts in North Sea–Caspian Atmospheric pattern (NCP), which account for the present-day regional climate variability with NCP (+) leading to wetter and colder conditions in NE Peloponnese. The Asian monsoonal system likely has an additional impact on the δD variabilities through influencing the summer temperatures. There is a consistency between the Peloponnesian δD signals and monsoonal records after ca 4000 cal BP confirming the actualistic models. Strong monsoonal periods coincide with cooler summers (lower δD values) in Lerna, due to the northerly winds, the Etesians. On the contrary, SW Peloponnese is dominated by warmer conditions during the same periods as the area is located on the lee side of the mountain and highly influenced by the adiabatic warming associated with the subsidence over the Eastern Mediterranean.

  • 2018. Elin Norström (et al.). Journal of Quaternary Science 33 (5), 563-574

    We present a 6000-year-long record tracing hydroclimate changes in SW Greece, based on hydrogen isotope composition of aquatic plant-derived n-C-23 alkanes (D-C23) in a sediment core from the Messenian plain, Peloponnese. The D-C23 record co-varies with other eastern Mediterranean records, suggesting relatively wetter conditions c. 6-4.5ka, followed by progressively drier conditions leading up to maximum aridity c. 2.8 ka. This arid phase was interrupted by a shift in D-C23 between 3.3 and 3.1ka inferring wetter conditions and/or tentative responses to anthropogenic water regulating activities during the Late Bronze Age. After 2.7ka, a return to more humid conditions was followed by increased dryness and stronger seasonality contrasts from c. 2.0ka. The D-C23 record shows three short-lived excursions (5.7, 5.3, 2.8ka), where isotope values dropped by >20 parts per thousand and immediately stabilized again. The events were paralleled by abrupt increases in sedimentation rates. We hypothesize that the isotopic shifts represent a response to mixing of ground water systems during tectonic events, followed by sealing of seismically derived cracks in the active fault. The outcome of the study is promising for future expansion of isotope-based proxies on sediments in the region, to reconstruct both hydroclimate and past seismic activity.

  • 2018. Alexandros Emmanouilidis (et al.). Quaternary International 476, 46-62

    The coastal areas of Eastern Mediterranean have long been the subject of research, due to their rapid geomorphological changes, but also because of their archaeological interest. Our study is focused on a shallow coastal lagoon of Peloponnese, Gialova Lagoon, which for several years has attracted the scientific interest of archaeologists, geomorphologists as well as sedimentologists. Gialova lagoon is located near the ancient city of Pylos, the kingdom of king Nestor during the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 BC). The objectives of this study are: (a) to reconstruct the middle to late Holocene depositional environments of the lagoon and (b) to correlate our data to already existing publications, in order to shed new light on the Holocene evolution of the lagoon and the associated coastal palaeoenvironmental changes. An 8m deep vibracore was drilled and a multi proxy analysis was carried out on the sediment sequence, including sedimentological (grain size analysis and moment measures, total organic carbon - TOC, total nitrogen e TN and total phosphorus - TP), high resolution geochemical (XRF-scanning) and palaeontological (micro-and macro faunal) analysis. The chronological framework is based on five C-14 datings forming the basis for an age depth model, calculated using the OxCal software. The radiocarbon dates from previous studies (6 cores, similar to 20 dates) were also taken into account. The data synthesis and interpretation provided robust and coherent indications regarding the palaeoenvironment, shoreline changes and the rate of geomorphological changes of the coastal area of Gialova Lagoon, as well as useful information about the palaeonvironmental and palaeoclimatic conditions that prevailed during the Mycenaean period. The interpretation, reveal a transition from a shallow marine environment (65005800 yr B.P.) to a brackish/lagoonal (5800-3300 yr B.P.), followed by a shift towards a freshwater/marsh environment (3300 yr B.P. to present).

  • 2017. Elin Norström (et al.). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 219, 96-110

    The increasing utilization of n-alkanes as plant-derived paleo-environmental proxies calls for improved chemotaxonomic control of the modern flora in order to calibrate fossil sediment records to modern analogues. Several recent studies have investigated long-chain n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in species from various vegetation biomes, but up to date, the Mediterranean flora is relatively unexplored in this respect. Here, we analyse the n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in some of the most common species of the modern macchia and phrygana vegetation in south western Peloponnese, Greece. We show that the drought adapted phrygana herbs and shrubs, as well as some of the sclerophyll and gymnosperm macchia components, produce high concentrations of n-alkanes, on average more than double n-alkane production in local wetland reed vegetation. Furthermore, the chain-length distribution in the analysed plants is related to plant functionality, with longer chain lengths associated with higher drought adaptive capacities, probably as a response to long-term evolutionary processes in a moisture limited environment. Furthermore, species with relatively higher average chain lengths (ACL) showed more enriched carbon isotope composition in their tissues (delta C-13(plant)), suggesting a dual imprint from both physiological and biochemical drought adaptation. The findings have bearings on interpretation of fossil sedimentary biomarker records in the Mediterranean region, which is discussed in relation to a case study from Agios Floros fen, Messenian plain, Peloponnese. The 6000 year long n-alkane record from Agios Floros (ACL, delta C-13(wax)) is linked to the modern analogue and then evaluated through a comparison with other regional-wide as well as local climate and vegetation proxy-data. The high concentration of long chain n-alkanes in phrygana vegetation suggests a dominating imprint from this vegetation type in sedimentary archives from this ecotone.

  • 2016. Erika Weiberg (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 136, 40-65

    Published archaeological, palaeoenvironmental, and palaeoclimatic data from the Peloponnese in Greece are compiled, discussed and evaluated in order to analyse the interactions between humans and the environment over the last 9000 years. Our study indicates that the number of human settlements found scattered over the peninsula have quadrupled from the prehistoric to historical periods and that this evolution occurred over periods of climate change and seismo-tectonic activity. We show that societal development occurs both during periods of harsh as well as favourable climatic conditions. At some times, some settlements develop while others decline. Well-known climate events such as the 4.2 ka and 3.2 ka events are recognizable in some of the palaeoclimatic records and a regional decline in the number and sizes of settlements occurs roughly at the same time, but their precise chronological fit with the archaeological record remains uncertain. Local socio-political processes were probably always the key drivers behind the diverse strategies that human societies took in times of changing climate. The study thus reveals considerable chronological parallels between societal development and palaeoenvironmental records, but also demonstrates the ambiguities in these correspondences and, in doing so, highlights some of the challenges that will face future interdisciplinary projects. We suggest that there can be no general association made between societal expansion phases and periods of advantageous climate. We also propose that the relevance of climatic and environmental regionality, as well as any potential impacts of seismo-tectonics on societal development, need to be part of the interpretative frameworks.

  • 2018. Karin F. Helmens (et al.). Global and Planetary Change 167, 61-73

    Detailed studies on fossil remains of plants or animals in glacial lake sediments are rare. As a result, environmental conditions right at the moment of deglaciation of the large N-Hemisphere ice-sheets remain largely unknown. Here we study three deglacial phases of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet as a unique, repeated element in a long sediment record preserved at Soldl in northern Finland. We summarize extensive multi-proxy data (diatoms, phytoliths, chironomids, pollen, spores, non-pollen palynomorphs, macrofossils, lithology, loss-on-ignition, C/N) obtained on glacial lake sediments dated to the early Holocene (ca. 10 kyr BP), early MIS 3 (ca. 50 kyr BP) and early MIS 5a (ca. 80 kyr BP). In contrast to the common view of an unproductive ice-marginal environment, our study reconstructs rich ecosystems both in the glacial lake and along the shores with forest on recently deglaciated land. Higher than present-day summer temperatures are reconstructed based on a large variety of aquatic taxa. Rich biota developed due to the insolation-induced postglacial warming and high nutrient levels, the latter resulting from erosion of fresh bedrock and sediment, leaching of surface soils, decay of plant material under shallow water conditions, and sudden decreases in lake volume. Aquatic communities responded quickly to deglaciation and warm summers and reflect boreal conditions, in contrast to the terrestrial ecosystem which responded with some delay probably due to time required for slow soil formation processes. Birch forest is reconstructed upon deglaciation of the large LGM ice-sheet and shrub tundra following the probably faster melting smaller MIS 4 and MIS 5b ice-sheets. Our study shows that glacial lake sediments can provide valuable palaeo-environmental data, that aquatic biota and terrestrial vegetation rapidly accommodated to new environmental conditions during deglaciation, and that glacial lake ecosystems, and the carbon stored in their sediments, should be included in earth system modeling.

Show all publications by Christos Katrantsiotis at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 2, 2019

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