|Coolen, M. J. L., G. Muyzer, W. I. C. Rijpstra, S. Schouten, J. K. Volkman and J. S. Sinninghe Damsté, Combined DNA and lipid analyses of sediments reveal changes in Holocene haptophyte and diatom populations in an Antarctic lake., Earth. Planet. Sc. Lett., 223, 225-239, (2004)|
Preserved ribosomal DNA of planktonic phototrophic algae was recovered from Holocene anoxic sediments of Ace Lake (Antarctica), and the ancient community members were identified based on comparative sequence analysis. The similar concentration profiles of DNA of haptophytes and their traditional lipid biomarkers (alkenones and alkenoates) revealed that fossil rDNA also served as quantitative biomarkers in this environment. The DNA data clearly revealed the presence of six novel phylotypes related to known alkenone and alkenoate-biosynthesizing haptophytes with Isochrysis galbana UIO 102 as their closest relative. The relative abundance of these phylotypes changed as the lake chemistry, particularly salinity, evolved over time. Changes in the alkenone distributions reflect these population changes rather than a physiological response to salinity by a single haptophyte. Using this novel paleo-ecological approach of combining data from lipid biomarkers and preserved DNA, we showed that the post-glacial development of Ace Lake from freshwater basin to marine inlet and the present-day lacustrine saline system caused major qualitative and quantitative changes in the biodiversity of the planktonic populations over time. Full Article is available here.