Marine palynological records in the southern South China Sea over the last 44 kyr
Dinoflagellate cysts and pollen from the South China Sea (SCS) are investigated to test their applicability as paleoceanographic/paleoclimatic indicators. Modern distribution patterns and species composition of dinoflagellate cysts are determined in 86 surface sediment samples. A total of 45 dinoflagellate cyst species are identified. Multivariate statistical analysis of the dinoflagellate cyst assemblage show that the distribution patterns and the species compositions are strongly related to the distance of a surface sample from the coast. This relationship may be the the result of offshore transport from the high productivty shallow coastal areas and/or of surface water productivity gradients in the SCS. The dinoflagellate cyst taxa can therefore be divided into three groups on the basis of surface water productivity. To test if these groupings can be used to reconstruct past changes in surface water productivity, the dinoflagellate cyst and pollen content from the high resolution core GIK 18267-3 are investigated.