Mangrove Lake, Bermuda, is a small coastal, brackish-water lake that has accumulated 14 m of banded, gelatinous, sapropelic sediments in less than 104 yr. Stratigraphic evidence indicates that Mangrove Lake's sedimentary environment has undergone three major depositional changes (peat, freshwater gel, brackish-water gel) as a result of sea level changes. The deposits were examined geochemically in an effort to delineate sedimentological and diagenetic changes. Gas and pore water studies include measurements of sulfides, ammonia, methane, nitrogen gas, calcium, magnesium, chloride, alkalinity, and pH. Results indicate that sulfate reduction is complete, and some evidence is presented for bacterial denitrification and metal sulfide precipitation. The organic-rich sapropel is predominantly algal in origin, composed mostly of carbohydrates and insoluble macromolecular organic matter called humin with minor amounts of proteins, lipids, and humic acids. Carbohydrates and proteins undergo hydrolysis with depth in the marine sapropel but tend to be preserved in the freshwater sapropel. The humin, which has a predominantly aliphatic structure, increases linearly with depth and composes the greatest fraction of the organic matter. Humic acids are minor components and are more like polysaccharides than typical marine humic acids. Fatty acid distributions reveal that the lipids are of an algal and/or terrestrial plant source. Normal alkanes with a total concentration of 75 ppm exhibit two distribution maxima. One is centered about n-C22 with no odd/even predominance, suggestive of a degraded algal source. The other is centered at n-C31 with a distinct odd/even predominance indicative of a vascular plant origin. Stratigraphic changes in the sediment correlate to observed changes in the gas and pore water chemistry and the organic geochemistry. ?? 1982.