Rienk Smittenberg

Rienk Smittenberg


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Postadress Institutionen för geologiska vetenskaper 106 91 Stockholm

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I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • Kweku Kyei Afrifa Yamoah (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews
  • 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.

  • 2017. Barbara Wohlfarth (et al.). Boreas 46 (2), 143-161

    The Last Termination (19 000-11 000 a BP) with its rapid and distinct climate shifts provides a perfect laboratory to study the nature and regional impact of climate variability. The sedimentary succession from the ancient lake at Hasseldala Port in southern Sweden with its distinct Lateglacial/early Holocene stratigraphy (> 14.1-9.5 cal. ka BP) is one of the few chronologically well-constrained, multi- proxy sites in Europe that capture a variety of local and regional climatic and environmental signals. Here we present Hasseldala's multi-proxy records (lithology, geochemistry, pollen, diatoms, chironomids, biomarkers, hydrogen isotopes) in a refined age model and place the observed changes in lake status, catchment vegetation, summer temperatures and hydroclimate in a wider regional context. Reconstructed mean July temperatures increased between c. 14.1 and c. 13.1 cal. ka BP and subsequently declined. This latter cooling coincided with drier hydroclimatic conditions that were probably associated with a freshening of the Nordic Seas and started a few hundred years before the onset of Greenland Stadial 1 (c. 12.9 cal. ka BP). Our proxies suggest a further shift towards colder and drier conditions as late as c. 12.7 cal. ka BP, which was followed by the establishment of a stadial climate regime (c. 12.5-11.8 cal. ka BP). The onset of warmer and wetter conditions preceded the Holocene warming over Greenland by c. 200 years. Hasseldala's proxies thus highlight the complexity of environmental and hydrological responses across abrupt climate transitions in northern Europe.

  • 2016. Merle Gierga (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 144, 123-131

    Compound-specific radiocarbon (C-14) analyses allow studying the fate of individual biomarkers in ecosystems. In lakes with small catchments, terrestrial biomarkers have the potential to be used for the dating of sediments that lack the traditionally targeted terrestrial macrofossils, if the specific organic compounds are deposited soon after production. On the other hand, if the biomarkers have been stored for a significant amount of time in the soils of the catchment before transported to the lake, their age can be used to reconstruct changes in average residence time of organic material on land through time. Here we present a study based on compound-specific C-14 analysis of the sedimentary record of Lake Soppensee, Switzerland, targeting long-chain n-alkanes of exclusive terrigenous origin, and comparing them with sediment ages obtained by high-resolution macrofossil dating. Additionally, we measured C-14 ages of bulk organic matter and carbonate samples to assess the hard water effect. Prior to 3100 cal BP n-alkanes had about the same age as the sediment or they were slightly older, indicating that the vast majority of the terrestrial organic carbon transported to the lake had a short residence time on land. In the samples younger than 3100 cal BP an increasing offset is observed, indicating liberation of old buried soil organic matter that must have accumulated over the previous millennia. Our results indicate that as long as stable ecosystem conditions have prevailed, the distribution and isotopic composition of the n-alkanes can be used as environmental proxies in small catchments with limited surface runoff, confirming a few earlier studies.

  • 2017. John K. Volkman, Rienk H. Smittenberg. Applications of Paleoenvironmental Techniques in Estuarine Studies, 173-212

    Estuarine sediments provide a valuable record of changing environmental conditions over time, although deciphering this record can be confounded by dramatic changes in sediment deposition and resuspension, and the effects of bioturbation and microbial degradation. Lipid biomarkers are commonly abundant in estuarine sediments and can provide valuable information on the sources of organic matter and how it is degraded and recycled. Terrestrial organic matter usually predominates and it is mostly derived from transport and deposition of soil-derived material. Biomarkers for this soil-derived organic material include long-chain n-alkanes, n-alkanols, n-alkan-2-ones, triterpenoids and constituents of cutin and suberin including fatty acids, omega-hydroxy fatty acids and alpha,omega-dicarboxylic acids (originally present as esters), and cell wall constituents including sterols and triterpenoids and lastly glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs). Aquatic organic matter is typically characterized by high abundances of sterols, fatty acids and GDGTs, and variable amounts of specific algal markers including long-chain C-37-C-40 alkenones, C-28-C-32 alkyl diols, C-20, C-25 and C-30 highly branched isoprenoid alkenes, chlorophylls and carotenoids. This chapter reviews the application of these various compounds as source-specific biomarkers and investigates the range of degradation reactions that need to be considered when using them as quantitative markers for organic matter inputs.

  • 2017. Kweku Afrifa Yamoah (et al.). The Holocene 27 (10), 1455-1464

    This paper investigates the possible social responses to changes in the strength of the southwest monsoon in northeastern Thailand during the currency of the Angkor civilisation. These assessments are based on hydrogen and carbon isotope records of leaf waxes (delta D-wax and delta 13C(wax)) from a 2000-year-long wetland sequence of Pa Kho in northeastern Thailand, a region that formed the northern boundary of the Angkor Kingdom. Our data indicate anthropogenic flooding of the Pa Kho wetland through the control of water through dam construction from c. AD 1300 in response to the fluctuating strength of monsoon rains. delta D-wax, a proxy for regional hydroclimate variability, corroborates pre-existing evidence that increased summer monsoon rains, which supported the expansion of the agrarian economy, aided the rise of the Angkorian Empire whereas extreme drought contributed to its demise. Interestingly, our delta D-wax record shows already a gradual decreasing monsoon intensity from c. AD 1000 onwards, although Angkor's prosperity reached its peak at c. AD 1200. We suggest that the complex hydrological system established under royal patronage at Angkor provided a resilient buffer against short-term monsoon fluctuations. The long-term decline in monsoon rains over a similar to 300-year period, combined with ongoing urbanisation, may have stretched the hydrological systems to their limit. We suggest that this was a major factor that contributed to the demise of Angkor in the mid-15th century.

  • 2016. Kweku A. Yamoah (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 148, 44-53

    Limited understanding of the complex dynamics of the tropical monsoon exists, partly due to inadequate paleo (hydro)-climate proxy data from monsoonal regions. This study presents a 2000-year long record of hydrogen isotope values of leaf wax (delta D-wax) from a sedimentary sequence recovered from Lake Pa Kho, Northern Thailand. Evaluation of present day rainfall patterns and water isotope data indicates that delta D-wax reflects the amount of rainfall and is also influenced by El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) dynamics. Over the last 2000 years, wettest conditions occurred between ca. 700 AD and ca. 1000 AD, whereas the driest intervals lasted from ca. 50 BCE to ca. 700 AD and from ca. 1300 AD to ca. 1500 AD. Further investigations to establish the spatiotemporal variability of ENSO within the wider tropical Asian-Pacific realm over centennial timescales revealed a low-frequency-tripole pattern between mainland SE Asia (MSEA), the tropical West Pacific, and the central-eastern Pacific, with a wetter than normal MSEA during El Nino-like climate conditions. This pattern stands in contrast to the annual event where El Nino cause drier conditions in MSEA. We hypothesize that on centennial timescales the land-sea contrast, which drives monsoon intensity in MSEA, is modulated by the latitudinal shift of the Walker circulation and associated ENSO dynamics.

  • 2016. Zhaohui Zhang, Rienk H. Smittenberg, Raymond S. Bradley. Scientific Reports 6

    We investigated the relationship between distributions of GDGTs, GDGT-based proxies and environmental factors in a stratified lake in northwestern Norway. More than 90% of isoGDGTs were produced at the bottom of the oxycline, indicating a predominance of ammonia-oxidizing Group I.1a of Thaumarchaeota, supported by high crenarchaeol/caldarchaeol ratios. Dissolved oxygen content, rather than temperature, exercised a primary control on TEX86 values. In spite of low BIT value in surface sediment, the reconstructed lake surface temperature was cold biased. MBT values in streams and lake surface water were significantly smaller than those in the catchment soil, suggesting in situ production of brGDGTs in streams. A rapid transition of MBT vs. temperature/pH relationships occurring at the bottom of oxycline indicated the differential production of various brGDGTs with D.O. and depths. Only within the oxycline were CBT-based pH values close to in situ pH. Our results confirm earlier studies calling for caution in applying TEX86 as a surface temperature proxy, or MBT and/or CBT for reconstructing pH, in anoxic or euxinic lakes, estuaries and ocean basins. We propose that caldarchaeol/crenarchaeol ratio, an indicator of contributions from methanogenic archaea, together with the BIT and TEX86 proxies, can help reconstruct past levels of stratification.

  • 2016. Daniel B. Wiedemeier (et al.). Journal of Visualized Experiments (111)

    Fire-derived, pyrogenic carbon (PyC), sometimes called black carbon (BC), is the carbonaceous solid residue of biomass and fossil fuel combustion, such as char and soot. PyC is ubiquitous in the environment due to its long persistence, and its abundance might even increase with the projected increase in global wildfire activity and the continued burning of fossil fuel. PyC is also increasingly produced from the industrial pyrolysis of organic wastes, which yields charred soil amendments (biochar). Moreover, the emergence of nanotechnology may also result in the release of PyC-like compounds to the environment. It is thus a high priority to reliably detect, characterize and quantify these charred materials in order to investigate their environmental properties and to understand their role in the carbon cycle. Here, we present the benzene polycarboxylic acid (BPCA) method, which allows the simultaneous assessment of PyC's characteristics, quantity and isotopic composition (C-13 and C-14) on a molecular level. The method is applicable to a very wide range of environmental sample materials and detects PyC over a broad range of the combustion continuum, i.e., it is sensitive to slightly charred biomass as well as high temperature chars and soot. The BPCA protocol presented here is simple to employ, highly reproducible, as well as easily extendable and modifiable to specific requirements. It thus provides a versatile tool for the investigation of PyC in various disciplines, ranging from archeology and environmental forensics to biochar and carbon cycling research.

  • 2016. Kweku Kyei Afrifa Yamoah (et al.). Organic Geochemistry 97, 53-60

    Understanding past climate and environmental conditions depends largely on accurate interpretations of proxy records from a range of environments, including tropical wetlands and lakes. Lipid biomarker analysis can provide important information about the sources of the accumulated organic material, and thus about the environmental information contained therein. Here we use n-alkane distributions and stable carbon isotopes of leaf waxes (δ13Cwax) to identify the sources of organic matter (OM) of a 2000-year long sediment/peat record from Lake Pa Kho (LPK) in northeastern Thailand, and to constrain the mechanisms that cause shifts in δ13Cwax and in δ13C of bulk organic matter (δ13Cbulk). Our results show three main sources of OM: terrestrial plants, aquatic macrophytes and algae. The δ13C values of the long chain n-alkanes, show two distinct groups: C27–C31 and C33–C35n-alkanes, where the δ13C values of C33–C35n-alkanes reflect that of δ13Cbulk. Lower moisture availability on the wetland, known from other sedimentary evidence, was characterized by low carbon isotope values typically seen for C3 plants, whereas greater moisture availability corresponded to higher δ13C values (around –20‰) of C33–C35n-alkanes, resembling a typical C4 plant signal. However, various lines of evidence argue against large shifts between C3 and C4 plant input. Instead, we suggest that the high δ13C values were indirectly caused by higher aquatic productivity during periods of greater moisture availability, decreasing dissolved CO2, but increasing bicarbonate availability caused by higher pH. This caused the dominant macrophytes (e.g., Potamogeton spp.) to shift their carbon source from CO-2 to bicarbonate, which has much higher δ13C values. Our results show that the environmental context should be taken into account when interpreting n-alkane δ13C variability as a paleo-environmental/climatic signal as this contains several important variables that need to be disentangled and explained.

  • 2016. Tommaso Tesi (et al.). Nature Communications 7

    Recent hypotheses, based on atmospheric records and models, suggest that permafrost carbon (PF-C) accumulated during the last glaciation may have been an important source for the atmospheric CO2 rise during post-glacial warming. However, direct physical indications for such PF-C release have so far been absent. Here we use the Laptev Sea (Arctic Ocean) as an archive to investigate PF-C destabilization during the last glacial–interglacial period. Our results show evidence for massive supply of PF-C from Siberian soils as a result of severe active layer deepening in response to the warming. Thawing of PF-C must also have brought about an enhanced organic matter respiration and, thus, these findings suggest that PF-C may indeed have been an important source of CO2 across the extensive permafrost domain. The results challenge current paradigms on the post-glacial CO2 rise and, at the same time, serve as a harbinger for possible consequences of the present-day warming of PF-C soils.

  • 2015. Francesco Muschitiello (et al.). Nature Communications 6

    Sources and timing of freshwater forcing relative to hydroclimate shifts recorded in Greenland ice cores at the onset of Younger Dryas, similar to 12,800 years ago, remain speculative. Here we show that progressive Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) melting 13,100-12,880 years ago generates a hydroclimate dipole with drier-colder conditions in Northern Europe and wetter-warmer conditions in Greenland. FIS melting culminates 12,880 years ago synchronously with the start of Greenland Stadial 1 and a large-scale hydroclimate transition lasting similar to 180 years. Transient climate model simulations forced with FIS freshwater reproduce the initial hydroclimate dipole through sea-ice feedbacks in the Nordic Seas. The transition is attributed to the export of excess sea ice to the subpolar North Atlantic and a subsequent southward shift of the westerly winds. We suggest that North Atlantic hydroclimate sensitivity to FIS freshwater can explain the pace and sign of shifts recorded in Greenland at the climate transition into the Younger Dryas.

  • 2014. Elin Norström (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 105, 48-65

    Abstract A multi-proxy study of a sediment sequence from Braamhoek wetland, covering the last c. 16,000 years, reveals a record of regional climate and vegetation dynamics in the Drakensberg region, South Africa, including signals from both the organic sediment fraction (fossil pollen, charcoal, n-alkane abundance, n-alkane δ13C, TOC) and the inorganic fraction (mineral magnetic properties). The reconstruction, supported by a robust chronology, indicates two major periods of increased regional wetness during the late Pleistocene to early Holocene phase (c. 13,800–12,600 cal yr BP; c. 10,200–8500 cal yr BP) and one during the late Holocene (c. 2000 cal yr BP to present). Drier conditions are recorded during the Younger Dryas (c. 12,600–11,300 cal yr BP) and mid-Holocene (c. 7000–2000 cal yr BP). A major decline in fynbos vegetation during the early Holocene suggests a shift towards warmer temperatures and possibly towards less pronounced winter rains in eastern South Africa from c. 8500 cal yr BP. Comparison with records from interior of South Africa show relatively high inter-site variability, however, the Braamhoek moisture proxies do co-vary with the speleothem isotope records from Makapansgat, suggesting a similar hydro-climate evolution in eastern and interior parts of the summer rainfall region during the studied period. On multi-millennial time scales, an inverse hydro-climatological pattern is evident between these two South African records and reconstructions from tropical locations in southeast Africa. Such a rainfall dipole between eastern tropical and southern Africa, has previously been identified on shorter time scales, i.e. on inter-annual to millennial scales. The Braamhoek study suggests that a similar dipole pattern is acting also on a multi-millennial perspective. These long-term precipitation anomalies are tentatively coupled to teleconnections from multi-millennial changes in the dynamics of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

  • 2014. Hans Göransson (et al.). Biogeochemistry 121 (2), 329-338
  • 2012. Anita Zumsteg (et al.). Microbial Ecology 63 (3), 552-564

    Glacier forefield chronosequences, initially composed of barren substrate after glacier retreat, are ideal locations to study primary microbial colonization and succession in a natural environment. We characterized the structure and composition of bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in exposed rock substrates along the Damma glacier forefield in central Switzerland. Soil samples were taken along the forefield from sites ranging from fine granite sand devoid of vegetation near the glacier terminus to well-developed soils covered with vegetation. The microbial communities were studied with genetic profiling (T-RFLP) and sequencing of clone libraries. According to the T-RFLP profiles, bacteria showed a high Shannon diversity index (H) (ranging from 2.3 to 3.4) with no trend along the forefield. The major bacterial lineages were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Cyanobacteria. An interesting finding was that Euryarchaeota were predominantly colonizing young soils and Crenarchaeota mainly mature soils. Fungi shifted from an Ascomycota-dominated community in young soils to a more Basidiomycota-dominated community in old soils. Redundancy analysis indicated that base saturation, pH, soil C and N contents and plant coverage, all related to soil age, correlated with the microbial succession along the forefield.

  • 2012. Rienk H. Smittenberg (et al.). Global Change Biology 18 (6), 1941-1955

    We performed a detailed study on the carbon build-up over the 140-year-long chronosequence of the Damma glacier forefield, Switzerland, to gain insights into the organic carbon dynamics during the initial stage of soil formation and ecosystem development. We determined soil carbon and nitrogen contents and their stable isotopic compositions, as well as molecular-level composition of the bulk soils, and recalcitrance parameters of carbon in different fractions. The chronosequence was divided into three age groups, separated by small end moraines that resulted from two glacier re-advances. The net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) showed an exponential increase over the last decades, with mean annual values that range from 100gCm-2yr-1 in the youngest part to over 300gCm-2yr-1 in a 6080years old part. However, over the entire 140-year chronosequence, the NECB is only 20gCm-2yr-1, similar to results of other glacier forefield studies. The difference between the short- and long-term NECB appears to be caused by reductions in ecosystem carbon (EC) accumulation during periods with a colder climate. We propose that two complementary mechanisms have been responsible: 1) Reductions in net primary productivity down to 50% below the long-term mean, which we estimated using reconstructed effective temperature sums. 2) Disturbance of sites near the terminus of the re-advanced glacier front. Stabilization of soil organic matter appeared to play only a minor role in the coarse-grained forefield. We conclude that the forefield ecosystem, especially primary productivity, reacts rapidly to climate changes. The EC gained at warm periods is easily lost again in a cooling climate. Our conclusions may also be valid for other high mountain ecosystems and possibly arctic ecosystems.

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Senast uppdaterad: 7 januari 2020

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