Lipid biomarkers in Holocene and glacial sediments from ancient Lake Ohrid (Macedonia, Albania)

Holtvoeth, J.; Vogel, H.; Wagner, B.; Wolff, G. A. (2010). Lipid biomarkers in Holocene and glacial sediments from ancient Lake Ohrid (Macedonia, Albania). Biogeosciences, 7(11), pp. 3473-3489. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/bg-7-3473-2010

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Abstract. Organic matter preserved in Lake Ohrid sediments
originates from aquatic and terrestrial sources. Its
variable composition reflects climate-controlled changes in
the lake basin’s hydrology and related organic matter export,
i.e. changes in primary productivity, terrestrial plant matter
input and soil erosion. Here, we present first results from
lipid biomarker investigations of Lake Ohrid sediments from
two near-shore settings: site Lz1120 near the southern shore,
with low-lying lands nearby and probably influenced by river
discharge, and site Co1202 which is close to the steep eastern
slopes. Variable proportions of terrestrial n-alkanoic
acids and n-alkanols as well as compositional changes of !-
hydroxy acids document differences in soil organic matter
supply between the sites and during different climate stages
(glacial, Holocene, 8.2 ka cooling event). Changes in the
vegetation cover are suggested by changes in the dominant
chain length of terrestrial n-alkanols. Effective microbial
degradation of labile organic matter and in situ contribution
of organic matter derived from the microbes themselves are
both evident in the sediments. We found evidence for anoxic
conditions within the photic zone by detecting epicholestanol
and tetrahymanol from sulphur-oxidising phototrophic bacteria
and bacterivorous ciliates and for the influence of a settled
human community from the occurrence of coprostanol, a
biomarker for human and animal faeces (pigs, sheep, goats),
in an early Holocene sample. This study illustrates the potential
of lipid biomarkers for future environmental reconstructions
using one of Europe’s oldest continental climate
archives, Lake Ohrid.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Vogel, Hendrik


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Hendrik Vogel

Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2014 15:42

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2017 18:17

Publisher DOI:





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