Walker Lake, a terminal saline lake in western Nevada, has experienced major fluctuations in its water level due to changes in the regional climate during Quaternary times. As part of a paleo-climatological study of western Nevada, we have investigated organic matter ??13C and C/N values and lipid biomarker contents of sediments deposited at various periods over the past 150 thousand years of lake history. Surficial sediments from two cross-lake transects contain mostly lake-derived organic matter. Diagenetic losses of organic matter are evident in deeper sediments, and the proportion of aquatic and terrigenous organic materials changes in response to variations in preservational factors. Source identification of organic matter is complicated by the probability that Walker Lake has experienced desiccation at various times in its history which impacts the degree of preservation of organic substances. ?? 1988.