Senior Project Advisor
Camilo Ponton and Karin Lemkau
palaeobotanical reconstructions, fossils, biomarkers, Chuckanut Formation
Earth’s climate can be tracked through geologic time by studying palaeobotanical conditions, as plants are sensitive to fluctuations in climate. Plant biomarkers (molecules found in the epicuticular wax of leaves) can be preserved for millions of years in sedimentary rocks, act as molecular fossils, and provide insight into the type of vegetation cover at the time of deposition. This project focused on extracting one such class of compounds: fatty alcohols. We used fatty alcohols as biomarkers to improve palaeobotanical reconstructions of the Chuckanut Formation during the Eocene. The fatty alcohols found in samples lacking macrofossils from the Slide member of the Chuckanut Formation display a strong palm signature, reflecting a subtropical climate at the time of deposition. This is consistent with the macrofossils found in the Slide member. This study is the first to extract and identify fatty alcohols in the Chuckanut Formation and shows promising results for improving palaeobotanical reconstructions in the absence of macrofossils.
Lower, Ellis, "Extraction and Interpretation of Fatty Alcohols in the Chuckanut Formation" (2022). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 568.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Geology, Stratigraphic--Eocene; Paleobotany--Washington (State)--Chuckanut Mountains; Biochemical markers--Washington (State)--Chuckanut Mountains; Fatty alcohols--Washington (State)--Chuckanut Mountains
Chuckanut Mountains (Wash.)
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