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LIMNOLOGICAL AND PALEOLIMNOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE FROM MELVILLE ISLAND, NU/NWT, CANADIAN HIGH ARCTIC

KEATLEY, BRONWYN E.  Queen's University.
Douglas, Marianne S.V.  University of Toronto.
Smol, John P.  Queen's University.

Paleolimnological studies from the eastern High Arctic have shown that diatom species assemblages in small, alkaline ponds remained relatively constant for millennia, but began to change dramatically beginning in the 19th century, likely in response to climatic change. Less is known, however, about the variability of environmental change across the High Arctic. In order to accurately assess this information, regional data sets that encompass present-day limnological variability are needed. Here, we present the major trends in physical and chemical limnology across 46 lakes and ponds from Melville Island, NU/NWT, Canada. The large spatial, geological, and climatic gradients captured by the sites from Melville Island result in broad ranges of water chemistry variability. These data are part of ongoing research to develop a diatom calibration set for the western-central Canadian High Arctic.

In addition, a paleolimnological record of sedimentary diatom assemblages from a small pond on Melville Island is presented. Large diatom species shifts begin in the late 19th century. Although the species we see in this assemblage are different from those in other high arctic paleolimnological studies, the changes are consistent with a response to climatic change over the last 100 years, and suggest that, similar to ponds in the eastern High Arctic, this pond on Melville Island has also experienced dramatic environmental changes over the recent past.


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