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A two-step expansion of the dinocyst Lingulodinium machaerophorum in the Caspian Sea: the role of changing environment


Arpe,  Klaus
The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Leroy, S., Lahijani, H., Reyss, J., Chalie, F., Haghani, S., Shah-Hosseini, M., et al. (2013). A two-step expansion of the dinocyst Lingulodinium machaerophorum in the Caspian Sea: the role of changing environment. Quaternary Science Reviews, 77, 31-45. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.026.

Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages were analysed in four short sediment cores collected in the south Basin of the Caspian Sea for assessing environmental changes over the last few millennia. Two of these cores were dated by radionuclides. The sedimentation rate of one of them was very high, in the order of 20 mm per year. The interpretation of the four sequences is supported by a collection of 27 lagoonal or marine surface sediment samples. A sharp increase in the concentration of the dinocyst occurs after 1967, especially owing to Lingulodinium machaerophorum. Considering nine other cores covering parts or the whole of Holocene, it became clear that this species started to develop in the Caspian Sea only during the last three millennia. By analysing instrumental data and collating existing reconstructions of sea level changes over the last decades, we show that the main forcing for the recent increase of L. machaerophorum percentages and concentration is global climate change, especially sea surface temperature increase. Sea level fluctuations likely only have a minor impact. We argue that the recent increase in L. machaerophorum indicates that the Caspian Sea clearly is in the Anthropocene.