The 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences of haptophyte algae were successfully amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from water filtrate, surface sediments, and a late-Holocene sediment sample (?1000 years old) from a group of lakes in the Søndre Strømfjord region of west Greenland. The DNA of the algal primary producer is extremely well preserved in the laminated lake sediments which have been deposited in cold (1°–2°C), anoxic, and sulphidic bottom water. Phylogenetic analyses of the Greenland haptophyte rDNA sequences suggest that alkenones in the Greenland lake sediments are produced by haptophyte algae of the class Prymnesiophyceae. The 18S rDNA sequences from the Greenland samples cluster within a distinct phylotype, differing from both marine haptophytes and from those reported previously from Ace Lake, Antarctica. The similarity of haptophyte rDNA sequences among all samples in this study suggests a single alkenone-based temperature calibration may be applied to these lakes for at least the past 1000 years. These sedimentary archives hold great promise for high-resolution, alkenone-based paleotemperature reconstruction of southern west Greenland, a region sensitive to atmospheric-oceanic climate phenomena such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).