Tracking soil organic carbon transport to continental margin sediments using soil-specific hopanoid biomarkers: A case study from the Congo fan (ODP site 1075)

Martin P. Cooke, Helen M. Talbot, Thomas Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The transport and deposition of terrestrially derived organic matter (TOM) into the ocean Is an important but poorly constrained aspect of the modern global carbon cycle. A preliminary study of Late Quaternary sediments from the Congo deep sea fan (ODP leg 175, site 1075, 2 km water depth) and four surface samples from associated cores has confirmed the presence of proposed soil-specific bacteriohopanepolyol biomarkers (BHPs) including adenosylhopane, in samples to a depth of 89 in. Concentrations of soil market BHPs are high in the upper sediment section (to 49 m) and the closest related surface sample (4913), supporting the case for these molecular markers as novel proxies for soil organic carbon (SOC) supply via riverine transport and subsequent burial. Distinct peaks for the markers at about 21, 34 and 60 m below surface level tentatively imply that the rate of TOM discharge from tropical Africa significantly increased at these times, possibly associated with periods of reduced soil stability in the Congo catchment. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-971
Number of pages7
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Event23rd International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry 2007 - Torquay
Duration: 9 Sep 200714 Sep 2007



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