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First Calibration and Application of Leaf Wax n-Alkane Biomarkers in Loess-Paleosol Sequences and Modern Plants and Soils in Armenia

1
Institute of Geography, Chair of Physical Geography, Technical University of Dresden, Helmholtzstrasse 10, D-01062 Dresden, Germany
2
Institute of Geography, Chair of Landscape- and Geoecology, Technical University of Dresden, Helmholtzstrasse 10, D-01062 Dresden, Germany
3
Institute of Geological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Baghramyan Ave. 24a, 0019 Yerevan, Armenia
4
Institute of Geography, University of Jena, Löbdergraben 32, D-07743 Jena, Germany
5
Department of Geography, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Senckenberstrasse 1, D-35390 Giessen, Germany
6
Institute of Agronomy and Nutritional Sciences, Soil Biogeochemistry, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, von-Seckendorff-Platz 3, D-06120 Halle, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(6), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9060263
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract

Interpreting paleoenvironmental conditions by means of n-alkane biomarker analyses is challenging because results depend on different influencing factors. Thus, regional calibration of n-alkane patterns is needed because of different plant chemo-taxonomic behavior. We investigated for the first-time leaf wax-derived n-alkane biomarkers from modern plants, litter, top soils, and two recently discovered loess-paleosol sequences (LPSs) in Armenia (Lesser Caucasus). Our results on modern samples show a promising discrimination power based on n-alkane chain length nC33 (probably nC31)) for grasses and herbs versus nC29 for deciduous trees, despite the large interplant variability within vegetation groups. In contrast with other Loess records in Europe, where Late Pleistocene environments are ranging from tundra-like (glacial) to deciduous forest habitats (interglacial), our results from two Armenian LPSs suggest a transition from humid-steppe biome or forest-steppe vegetation dominating during interglacial periods, to semi-desert shrubs species more adapted to the enhanced aridity during glacial periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lesser Caucasus; Armenia; leaf wax biomarker; n-alkane; loess; paleosol; Paleo-environment Lesser Caucasus; Armenia; leaf wax biomarker; n-alkane; loess; paleosol; Paleo-environment
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Trigui, Y.; Wolf, D.; Sahakyan, L.; Hovakimyan, H.; Sahakyan, K.; Zech, R.; Fuchs, M.; Wolpert, T.; Zech, M.; Faust, D. First Calibration and Application of Leaf Wax n-Alkane Biomarkers in Loess-Paleosol Sequences and Modern Plants and Soils in Armenia. Geosciences 2019, 9, 263.

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