Articles | Volume 17, issue 21
Biogeosciences, 17, 5465–5487, 2020
Biogeosciences, 17, 5465–5487, 2020

Research article 13 Nov 2020

Research article | 13 Nov 2020

From leaf to soil: n-alkane signal preservation, despite degradation along an environmental gradient in the tropical Andes

Milan L. Teunissen van Manen et al.

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Cited articles

Ardenghi, N., Mulch, A., Pross, J., and Maria Niedermeyer, E.: Leaf wax n-alkane extraction: An optimised procedure, Org. Geochem., 113, 283–292,, 2017. 
Brittingham, A., Hren, M. T., and Hartman, G.: Microbial alteration of the hydrogen and carbon isotopic composition of n-alkanes in sediments, Org. Geochem., 107, 1–8,, 2017. 
Buggle, B., Wiesenberg, G. L. B., and Glaser, B.: Is there a possibility to correct fossil n-alkane data for postsedimentary alteration effects?, Appl. Geochem., 25, 947–957,, 2010. 
Bush, R. T. and McInerney, F. A.: Leaf wax n-alkane distributions in and across modern plants: Implications for paleoecology and chemotaxonomy, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 117, 161–179,, 2013. 
Bush, R. T. and McInerney, F. A.: Influence of temperature and C4 abundance on n-alkane chain length distributions across the central USA, Org. Geochem., 79, 65–73, 2015. 
Short summary
We measured plant wax in leaves and soils along an environmental gradient in the Ecuadorian Andes. These data show how the wax composition changes as the plant material degrades in different environments. Local temperature is reflected in the wax despite the level degradation. The study results warrant further research into a possible causal relationship that may lead to the development of n-alkane patterns as a novel palaeoecological proxy.
Final-revised paper