Freshwater systems serve as important biogeochemical reactors in the Arctic system.
Freshwater processes reflect rapidly changing features of the terrestrial catchments in which they are embedded. Arctic terrestrial linkages to aquatic systems occur through shallow groundwater connections, pulsed snow melt in the spring and active layer dynamics during the summer months, and perennial thaw zones (taliks).
Arctic terrestrial ecosystems deliver dissolved, particulate, and gaseous forms of carbon and nutrients to inland freshwater systems. In turn, this affects the physical, chemical and biological structure and function of freshwater systems, and ultimately the dynamic balance between net autotrophy or heterotrophy.
This action group will focus on key questions in Arctic land-water processes, specifically focusing on core Arctic system themes of connectivity, gradients, thresholds, and emergent properties. The group will identify sentinel responses of freshwater systems, and develop protocols and plans to track and assess these responses.
Mackenzie Delta - June 2011
Great Whale River - Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, Nunavik, Canada