A study of palynodebris and dinoflagellate cysts in Holocene sediments from Greenland and Faeroe Islands fjords and North Atlantic deep-water sites

Updated 2001-02-08

The project aims at studying the lateral and vertical (stratigraphic) variations in the composition of particulate organic debris (palynodebris sensu Boulter and Riddick, 1986) from a suite of Holocene sediment cores from off W, S, and SE Greenland, via the Reykjanes Ridge south of Iceland, to the Faeroe Islands. The main objective is to elucidate changes in paleoenvironmental and - hydrographic parameters such as temperature, trophic level, salinity, and energy in the water mass. In particular, the study aims at mapping the distribution of different species of organic walled dinoflagellate cysts in relation to these parameters.

This is not a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2001 - 2003
Data collection
2001 - 2002
Data processing
2002 - 2003
Data reporting
2002 - 2003

Contact information

Contact person
Lucia Roncaglia
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) Dept. of Environmental History and Climate Change Thoravej 8 DK-2400 Copenhagen NV Denmark
+45 3814 2359
+45 3814 2050
Other project contacts
Antoon Kuijpers GEUS Dept. of Environmental History and Climate Change Thoravej 8 DK-2400 Copenhagen NV Denmark ph. +45 3814 2367

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Climate change effects
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Algae (algae, phytoplankton)
Marine sediments
Seawater/suspended particulate matter
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Palynofacies analysis is a relatively new method of facies recognition. It is concerned with changes in the relative abundance of various types of organic debris such as palynomorphs (dinoflagellates, spores and pollen and organic inner linings of foraminifera), leaf cuticles, wood debris, amorphous organic matter (AOM). Palynofacies analysis is closely linked to sedimentology and is used as an aid in paleoenvironmental and -hydrographic interpretations. The basis for this is a fast growing literature documenting the linkage between changes in the palynological assemblage and changes in oceanographic parametres such as distance from shoreline, energy level, water temperature, trophic level and salinity.


Regions studied
Climate change effects
Climate change effects
Climate change effects
Other areas
North Atlantic Ocean sites i. e. Reykjanes Ridge
Stations or areas where observations are made

The following depositional/environmental settings will be studied in the project: Fjords: Søndre Strømfjord, West Greenland; Igaliku and Tunugdliarfik fjords, South Greenland; Faeroe Islands fjords. Open shelf: Disko Bugt, West Greenland; Faeroe Islands fjords. Continental margin/slope: SE Greenland and Faeroe Islands waters Open ocean deep-water: Reykjanes Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
The main results will be published as major papers in international journals. Other results, e.g. results from individual geographical study areas will be published as soon as possible as individual papers, preferably also in international journals.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

The present project will study a number of core samples from the North Atlantic, covering a variety of settings from coastal waters to deep sea. The majority of the core samples are available at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). The Greenland cores were collected between 1997 and 2000 (R/V's Prof. Logachev, Poseidon, Dana), the cores from the Reykjanes Ridge in 1992 and 1997 (R/V Prof. Logachev), and the cores from Faeroe Islands waters between 1993 and 2000 (R/V's Pelagia, Skagerrak, Dana). Furthermore, samples from the Tunugdliarfik and Igaliku Fjords (SW Greenland) collected during Statens Naturvidenskabelige Forskningsraads (SNF) project No. 9701901 referred to above will be incorporated in the present study.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Standard palynological procedure will be carried out on the samples including HCl and HF treatments; sieving on 6 micro?-m (palynofacies analysis) and 16 micro?-m (dinoflagellates) filters. The palynological residue will be mounted between microscope slides and studied under light microscope. Sample preparation, microscope work and data processing will take place at GEUS.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

The present project is part of an ongoing paleoceanographic work carried out by GEUS in co-operation with Danish and foreign Universities and institutes, the Faeroe Islands Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Denmark, and the Greenland National Museum and Archive. One of the relevant ongoing projects is the Greenland Holocene Paleo-Hydrographic Project (GHPH; ref. No. 9802945, Forskningsstyrelsens Nordatlantforskning), a multidisciplinary study to reconstruct Holocene paleo-hydrographic changes from coast-near settings in SE, SW and W Greenland, to study their relationship with the atmospheric climate change, and to investigate the implications that such changes could have had for Late Holocene prehistoric human settlement in Greenland. The present project is carried out in collaboration with ongoing projects at Amsterdam Free University, GEOMAR, Kiel, the Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemuende, Göteborg as well as Lund University that focus on late Quaternary paleoceanographic changes in the Irminger Sea and North Atlantic waters around the Faeroe Islands (e.g. 'LINK' project).

Please log in to edit this record