The Arctic is currently warming twice as fast as the global average with summer temperatures predicted to be 4 to 6°C above late 20th Century averages by 2100 CE. Amplified warming in the Arctic is expected to result in a northward shift in plant ranges. We proposed to sample Baffin Island lake sediment that preserves ancient DNA from the current warm times (the last 10,000 years) and the much warmer previous warm time about 125,000 years ago. Ancient DNA will document how different plants were in those earlier warm times, and organic molecules allow us to estimate how much warmer the summers were then. By combining these data with modern vegetation studies and climate monitoring, an ecosystem-climate model will be developed to predict the likely evolution of Arctic ecosystems by 2100 CE
Summary of Modifications:
Modifications to NPC file number: 148582
Summary of modifications: Three members of our team will be conducting the same kind of field research as we did in 2017, except that we will be targeting three lakes near Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island. This will require two short field seasons.
In late April and early May a team of three will use snow mobiles to access the three lakes and use the lake ice as the platform to recover sediment cores from the lakes. We will hire Inuit from Qikiqtarjuaq to assist in the transport to the lakes and to assist with the coring operations.
We will deploy a second team of three in late July - early August to visit the same lakes when they are snow-free so that we can map the vegetation around the lakes to compare with the results we obtain from ancient DNA preserved in the lake sediment. This will require access to the site by boat and hiking. We will hire locally from Qikiqtarjuaq to assist in transport by boat, and to help take the sampling gear to the sites, as well as in mapping the vegetation.
Dates: 24 April to 15 May 2018
No of personnel: 3
No. of days: 21
No of person days: 63
Project name: Ancient DNA in lake sediments
We request permission to sample lake sediment from three lakes south of Qikiqtarjuaq. We will access the lakes by snowmobile, with a tent camp of near each lake for about one week at each site. At each lake we drill a hole through the ice and push a 4-cm-diameter polycarbonate tube into the mud at the center of each lake, capturing a small sample of the sediment that fills the lake floor. We then extract the tubes from the mud, and cap them. We have taken sediment cores from these same lakes in the past, and have specific reasons for returning to each of these lakes
BRO contains one of the longest records of past environments anywhere in the Canadian Arctic. The oldest sediment in the lake is almost 130,000 years old, and captures in interval when Baffin Island was warmer than present with almost no glaciers. We want to know what kind of plants were living there then, to better predict how vegetation will change in the future.
BIR is a lake surrounded by the woody shrub, Birch. This is a rare outlier, as birch is rarely found this far north. We want to know when birch arrived at this site to understand how quickly birch forests might expand in the future as the Arctic continues to warm
MBI is a lake that is on the passage used frequently by travelers heading south. It provides a contrast to BIR. There are no birch shrubs around MBI and we want to compare DNA from this colder site with BIR DNA.
We estimate from previous sampling that there will be about 1.5 meters of in BIR and MBI deposited over the past ~10,000 years, but almost 3 meters of mud in BRO, deposited in the past 130,000 years.
The advantage of using ancient DNA to reconstruct past ecosystems is that DNA records more types of life than pollen does. Thus, it will give us a better understanding of how vegetation on Baffin Island has changed over the past ~130,000 years, and in earlier warm times, which can provide important constraints on how we might anticipate life in the Arctic will change as the world continues to warm.
Elevation: 401 m asl
Elevation: 45 m asl
Elevation: 89 m asl
Land uses: Scientific Research
Authorization description: Scientific Research License
Permit number: 01 019 16N-A
Authorization description: Screening decision report
Permit number: 16YN010