Determining the absolute abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in recent marine sediments: The Lycopodium marker-grain method put to the test

Kenneth Neil Mertens, Koen Verhoeven, Thomas Verleye, Stephen Louwye, Ana Amorim, Sofia Ribeiro, Amr S. Deaf, Ian C. Harding, Stijn De Schepper, Catalina González, Monika Kodrans-Nsiah, Anne De Vernal, Maryse Henry, Taoufik Radi, Karen Dybkjær, Niels E. Poulsen, Susanne Feist-Burkhardt, Jonah Chitolie, Claus Heilmann-Clausen, Laurent LondeixJean-Louis Turon, Fabienne Marret, Jens Matthiessen, Francine M.G. McCarthy, Vandana Prasad, Vera Pospelova, Jane E. Kyffin Hughes, James B. Riding, André Rochon, Francesca Sangiorgi, Natasja Welters, Natalie Sinclair, Christian Thun, Ali Soliman, Nicolas van Nieuwenhove, Annemiek Vink, Martin Young

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    123 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Absolute abundances (concentrations) of dinoflagellate cysts are often determined through the addition of Lycopodium clavatum marker-grains as a spike to a sample before palynological processing. An inter-laboratory calibration exercise was set up in order to test the comparability of results obtained in different laboratories, each using its own preparation method. Each of the 23 laboratories received the same amount of homogenized splits of four Quaternary sediment samples. The samples originate from different localities and consisted of a variety of lithologies. Dinoflagellate cysts were extracted and counted, and relative and absolute abundances were calculated. The relative abundances proved to be fairly reproducible, notwithstanding a need for taxonomic calibration. By contrast, excessive loss of Lycopodium spores during sample preparation resulted in non-reproducibility of absolute abundances. Use of oxidation, KOH, warm acids, acetolysis, mesh sizes larger than 15 µm and long ultrasonication (> 1 min) must be avoided to determine reproducible absolute abundances. The results of this work therefore indicate that the dinoflagellate cyst worker should make a choice between using the proposed standard method which circumvents critical steps, adding Lycopodium tablets at the end of the preparation and using an alternative method.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-252
    Number of pages15
    JournalReview of Palaeobotany and Palynology
    Volume157
    Issue number3-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

    Keywords

    • concentration
    • dinoflagellate cyst
    • inter-laboratory calibration
    • Lycopodium clavatum tablets
    • spike

    Programme Area

    • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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