Long-chain diols in settling particles in tropical oceans: Insights into sources, seasonality and proxies

Marijke W. De Bar*, Jenny E. Ullgren, Robert C. Thunnell, Stuart G. Wakeham, Geert Jan A. Brummer, Jan Berend W. Stuut, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damste, Stefan Schouten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study we analyzed sediment trap time series from five tropical sites to assess seasonal variations in concentrations and fluxes of long-chain diols (LCDs) and associated proxies with emphasis on the long-chain diol index (LDI) temperature proxy. For the tropical Atlantic, we observe that generally less than 2% of LCDs settling from the water column are preserved in the sediment. The Atlantic and Mozambique Channel traps reveal minimal seasonal variations in the LDI, similar to the two other lipid-based temperature proxies TEX86 and UK0 37. In addition, annual mean LDIderived temperatures are in good agreement with the annual mean satellite-derived sea surface temperatures (SSTs). In contrast, the LDI in the Cariaco Basin shows larger seasonal variation, as do the TEX86 and UK0 37. Here, the LDI underestimates SST during the warmest months, which is possibly due to summer stratification and the habitat depth of the diol producers deepening to around 20-30 m. Surface sediment LDI temperatures in the Atlantic and Mozambique Channel compare well with the average LDI-derived temperatures from the overlying sediment traps, as well as with decadal annual mean SST. Lastly, we observed large seasonal variations in the diol index, as an indicator of upwelling conditions, at three sites: in the eastern Atlantic, potentially linked to Guinea Dome upwelling; in the Cariaco Basin, likely caused by seasonal upwelling; and in the Mozambique Channel, where diol index variations may be driven by upwelling from favorable winds and/or eddy migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1705-1727
Number of pages23
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019


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