A photoautotrophic source for lycopane in marine water columns

Stuart G. Wakeham, Katherine Haines Freeman, Tamara K. Pease, J. M. Hayes

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Suspended particulate matter and Recent sediments from diverse oceanic sites have been investigated for their contents of lycopane. Lycopane was present in all samples, including both oxic and anoxic water column and sediments. The highest concentrations in the water column were found in surface waters of the central Pacific gyre (1.5 ng/L) and in the anoxic waters of the Cariaco Trench (1.1 ng/L) and the Black Sea (0.3 ng/L). Vertical concentration profiles suggest that lycopane is probably algal in origin. Moreover, biogeochemical conditions in anoxic zones apparently result in a secondary production of lycopane from an as yet unidentified precursor. Compound-specific carbon isotopic analyses have been carried out on lycopane from water column and sediment samples. Isotopic compositions of lycopane range between -23.6%. and -32.9%. and are consistent with a photoautotrophic origin. We postulate that some lycopane is produced in surface waters of the ocean, while additional lycopane is produced in anoxic zones by anaerobic microbial action on an algal precursor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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