Climate change impacts on lake ecosystems of the western Canadian Arctic
Principal Investigator: Korosi, Jennifer B (4)
Licence Number: 16516
Organization: York University
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Mar 22, 2019
Project Team: Joshua Thienpont (Field team leader, York University), Brad Auger (MSc student, York University), TBD (Field assistant, York University)

Objective(s): To determine if thaw slumping results in the loss of a large-bodied zooplankton species (Daphnia) from lakes and to measure polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in lake sediments near the Distant Early Warning Line site in Tuktoyaktuk, to assess whether legacy contamination is still evident.

Project Description: The objectives of this research is to:
1) determine if thaw slumping results in the loss of a large-bodied zooplankton species (Daphnia) from lakes; and
2) measure polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in lake sediments near the Distant Early Warning Line site in Tuktoyaktuk, to assess whether legacy contamination is still evident.

The research team will be collecting sediment cores from small lakes. Lakes will be visited once and accessed using a helicopter. The team will paddle an inflatable boat to the center of the lake to collect a sediment core. The sediment cores collected will be 3.5" in diameter, and approximately 30-50cm in length, and coring methods have no impact on the lake. No equipment or sampling devices will be left in the lakes.

The research team will be collecting lake sediment samples for two different projects. The first project is a continuation of research the group began in 2017, to understand how lakes are changing in response to permafrost thaw. The team are producing a series of short (1-2 minute) videos describing their early research findings in plain language for distribution to the community, and welcome input on future plans to extend the work. The second project is a pilot study to measure legacy organic contaminants in lake sediments near a DEW line station at Tuktoyaktuk. If contaminant concentrations are elevated, the team will be expanding the study to investigate the potential for toxic effects on aquatic organisms, and will also seek community input on possible lakes of concern to them that we should prioritize for future study. In the past research in the southern Northwest Territories, the Principle Investigator (PI) has given workshops on lake sediment coring to high school students and students at Aurora College in Fort Smith, and would be happy to do so again, if there is interest. As well, the Principle Investigator has a long-standing collaboration with NWT Geological Survey, who has worked in the region for more than a decade. The team will communicate the research objectives and findings to them, so that it can be incorporated into their broader work in the region.

The research team will provide posters and reports outlining the research findings in plain, accessible language to the Aurora Research Institute for distribution, as well as copies of all theses or publications that arise from the project. The team will produce short videos outlining the research methods and important findings in plain language that will be available online. The team anticipate that the first video, from their 2017 research, will be available by September 2019. In the past, the PI has conducted workshops for local schools explaining their research methods and techniques during field seasons. The team would be happy to do so again, if there is interest.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 1, 2019 to August 30, 2019