Environmental ancient DNA as proxy for sea ice reconstructions

aDNAPROX is a cross-disciplinary project that brings together paleoceanographers and molecular ecologists from Uni Research to generate essential knowledge on Arctic sea ice. Sea ice is a crucial indicator or ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the Arctic and global climate state. The project aims to be the starting point for providing better insight into the variability of sea ice extent and to increase the knowledge about (the impact of) natural climate change on the Arctic cryosphere. For this reason, we will develop and assess environmental ancient DNA (aDNA) from microscopic algae as a proxy for reconstructing Arctic sea ice evolution. Sediments, recently collected during two cruises to the Greenland and Labrador Sea for the ERC Synergy Ice2Ice project, will be analyzed for aDNA as well as traditional proxies using microfossils (dinoflagellate cysts) and organic biomarkers. This will allow reconstructing the sea ice history over the last ~100,000 years, with special focus on rapid climate fluctuations.