Alkenones in the Mediterranean Sea

Time-series of downward alkenone fluxes have been investigated at 200 m depth over a one year sediment trap experiment, in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Alkenone flux maxima occurred in autumn and to a lesser extent in May, during the spring bloom. Temperature estimates calculated from the UK'37 index revealed that alkenone producers preferentially develop in subsurface waters (at about 50 m) in spring, whereas the autumn alkenone production occurred upper in the water column (around 30 m). Examination of the core-top UK'37 index values at various sites of the Northwestern Mediterranean basin, suggested that the spring bloom period do not significantly imprint the temperatures recorded in the sediments. The sedimentary temperature estimates would rather reflect annually integrated SST, with a major influence of the autumnal post-bloom development of the coccolithophores in the euphotic zone.



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