Sediment pigments as biomarkers of environmental change

Nina Reuss

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis demonstrates the usefulness of sedimentary pigments as biomarkers of environmental change in estuarine systems and as biomarkers in lakes in relation to climate change. These are two fields where sediment pigment records as measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are emerging areas of study. A detailed study was undertaken to examine the effects of different storage of sediment samples on pigment concentrations and resulted in recommendations to
obtain the best quality data with storage of samples. In estuarine systems, pigments in the sediment record were found to reflect the phototrophic community of different
systems as well as major changes in eutrophication conditions. However, it was also recognized that the quality of the pigment record is highly dependent on the
preservation regime in the sediment. Therefore, selection of an appropriate investigation site is of utmost importance in determining the impacts of environmental
change. The pigment record reliably identified major differences in Arctic lake response to climate change, and emphasized the importance of in-lake processes and
location in mediating the response. Strongly stratified lakes showed the largest variability while lakes dominated by benthic algae were more stable. Pigment biomarkers are particularly valuable in multi-proxy studies where they can provide a more complete picture of the phototrophic community and where they are often the
only fossil remains of non-siliceous algae and phototrophic bacteria.
Original languageEnglish
  • Conley, Daniel, Supervisor
  • Söndergaard, Morten, Supervisor, External person
Award date2005 Apr 25
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2005-04-25
Time: 13:00
Place: Ferskvandsbiologisk Institut, Københavns Universitet

External reviewer(s)

Name: Leavitt, Peter
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: University of Regina, Canada

Name: Gibson, Christopher E.
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Name: Christoffersen, Kirsten
Title: Associate Prof.
Affiliation: Copenhagen University


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


  • Greenland
  • Sediment
  • paleolimnology
  • paleoecology
  • estuaries
  • lakes
  • Europe
  • pigments


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