Total photosynthetic biomass record between 9400 and 2200 BP and its link to temperature changes at a High Arctic site near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

  • Zhongkang Yang
  • Jianjun Wang
  • Linxi Yuan
  • Wenhan Cheng
  • Yuhong Wang
  • Zhouqing XieEmail author
  • Liguang SunEmail author
Original Paper


Changes in vegetation biomass have a great impact on many aspects of the Arctic ecosystem, and historical variations of biomass in Svalbard during the Holocene remain poorly understood. In this study, we collected a palaeo-notch sediment profile in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, performed organic biomarker and geochemical analysis on the sediments, reconstructed the photosynthetic biomass record during the interval of 9400–2200 BP, and examined the relationship between the photosynthetic biomass changes and Holocene temperature records in the Arctic region. The photosynthetic biomass production in Ny-Ålesund experienced four development periods. It rose steadily at the beginning of the Holocene and became stabilized at a high level during the Holocene thermal maximum. However, the photosynthetic biomass dropped sharply during the mid-Holocene transition. After that, it showed a small peak during the interval of 3000–2500 BP. The historical photosynthetic biomass record is in good agreement with the temperature records: the photosynthetic biomass production increases during warmer periods, and vice versa. Therefore, temperature is likely the driving factor controlling the photosynthetic biomass production. This study improves our understanding of the terrestrial ecosystem and its responses to climate change in the Arctic.


Holocene Phytol Bio-elements Photosynthetic biomass Svalbard 



The research was supported by Chinese Polar Environment Comprehensive Investigation & Assessment Programmes (CHINARE2017-02–01, CHINARE2017-04–04) and the External Cooperation Program of BIC, CAS (Project No.211134KYSB20130012). Samples provided by the Polar Sediment Repository of Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC). Samples Information and Data were issued by the Resource-sharing Platform of Polar Samples ( maintained by Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) and Chinese National Arctic & Antarctic Data Center (CN-NADC). We thank the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration and PRIC for logistical support in field. We also thank the Governor of Svalbard for permission to carry out fieldwork.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

300_2019_2493_MOESM1_ESM.docx (337 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 337 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhongkang Yang
    • 1
  • Jianjun Wang
    • 2
  • Linxi Yuan
    • 3
  • Wenhan Cheng
    • 1
  • Yuhong Wang
    • 1
  • Zhouqing Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liguang Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Polar Environment and Global Change, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Global Change and Marine-Atmospheric ChemistryThird Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic AdministrationXiamenChina
  3. 3.Advanced Lab for Selenium and Human Health, Suzhou Institute for Advanced StudyUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaSuzhouChina

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