Today's Arctic is undergoing changes that are historically unprecedented, and future changes over the next century are expected to be even greater. Arctic wetlands are active in carbon and hydrological cycles, and are both climatically sensitive modern ecosystems and important archives of past environmental conditions.
A Marie Curie IIF research program is proposed to investigate High Arctic wetland sensitivity to climate variation using palaeoenvironmental tools. Past hydrological change and carbon accumulation patterns will be investigated explicitly at two-time scales - the recent past of the last 200 - 300 years and total Holocene history (the last 12,000 years).
High Arctic wetland sites on the Svalbard Archipeligo, Norway will be studied with a cross-disciplinary approach that utilizes geological, biological, and biogeochemical methods. State-of-the-art chronological methods to be employed include combination of 14C-AMS measurement of anthropogenic bomb carbon, Holocene radiocarbon, and tephrochronology using newly developed Bayesian statistical methods for age modeling. Palaeohydrology will be studied using remains of soil microfauna (testate amoebae) and transfer-function quantitative reconstructions.
The direct inter-comparison of wetland carbon accumulation rates with hydrological reconstructions will provide information about High Arctic ecosystem response to climate. Greater understanding of relationships between environment and ecosystem dynamics over recent-past and millennial-scale time sc ales in the High Arctic is timely owing to existing knowledge gaps regarding Arctic wetlands as well as present rapid Arctic change.
Results of this research will provide new information for understudied Arctic ecosystems and underutilised palaeoenvironmental records that will be useful to climatologists, hydrologists, wetland biologists, and the general Arctic system science community.
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