Late Holocene changes in vegetation and atmospheric circulation at Lake Uddelermeer (The Netherlands) reconstructed using lipid biomarkers and compound-specific δD analysis

V. van den Bos*, S. Engels, S. J.P. Bohncke, C. Cerli, B. Jansen, K. Kalbitz, F. Peterse, H. Renssen, D. Sachse

*Corresponding author for this work

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We reconstructed middle to late Holocene changes in atmospheric circulation patterns and vegetation in north-west Europe by applying novel geochemical techniques to the sediment record of Lake Uddelermeer (The Netherlands). A comparison of higher plant-derived leaf wax n-alkane distributions archived in the lake sediments with those in living plant material, combined with palynological analysis, indicates that the vegetation immediately surrounding the lake became more open at 3150 cal a BP, while the regional vegetation responded more gradually and ∼650 years later. Our record of the hydrogen isotopic composition of plant leaf waxes (δDwax) shows a deuterium enrichment starting from 3500 cal a BP, which we interpret as a change in atmospheric circulation. A similar δDwax record from nearby Meerfelder Maar (Germany) shows an opposite trend around this time, which could be explained by a change in sea-level pressure resembling a negative North Atlantic Oscillation phase. This could account for depleted δD values of precipitation at Meerfelder Maar, while confounding factors related to the more maritime position of Uddelermeer cause the opposite shift there.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


Acknowledgements. We thank the following people for their contribution to this study: Wim Z. Hoek and Andy Lotter for logistical support; Nelleke van Asch, Erik J. de Boer, Remko Engels, Tom Peters, Julia Sassi, Marchien Wolma, Tim Winkels and Hessel Woolderink for help during fieldwork; Joke W. Westerveld, Leo Hoitinga and Rick Helmus for help with lipid biomarker preparation; Bernd Hoffmann for help with deuterium measurements; Oliver Rach for discussion of the Meerfelder Maar data; Bas van Geel for invaluable feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript; Elliot Swallow for feedback on English spelling, grammar and syntax; and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Tieke Poelen and Kroondomein het Loo are thanked for granting permission to access the site. The research of S.E. and F.P. is financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, project 863.11.009 and 863.13.016, respectively). NWO grant 834.11.006 enabled the purchase of the UHPLC-MS system used for GDGT analyses. We dedicate this paper to the memory of our much-missed colleague and friend Sjoerd Bohncke, who passed away during preparation of this manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek863.11.009, 863.13.016


    • atmospheric circulation
    • compound-specific δD analysis
    • lipid biomarkers
    • North Atlantic Oscillation
    • north-west Europe


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