Navigation Links
Striking ecological impact on Canada's Arctic coastline linked to global climate change
Date:5/16/2011

Scientists from Queen's and Carleton universities head a national multidisciplinary research team that has uncovered startling new evidence of the destructive impact of global climate change on North America's largest Arctic delta.

"One of the most ominous threats of global warming today is from rising sea levels, which can cause marine waters to inundate the land," says the team's co-leader, Queen's graduate student Joshua Thienpont. "The threat is especially acute in polar regions, where shrinking sea ice increases the risk of storm surges."

By studying growth rings from coastal shrubs and lake sediments in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories the scene of a widespread and ecologically destructive storm surge in 1999 the researchers have discovered that the impact of these salt-water surges is unprecedented in the 1,000-year history of the lake.

"This had been predicted by all the models and now we have empirical evidence," says team co-leader Michael Pisaric, a geography professor at Carleton. The Inuvialuit, who live in the northwest Arctic, identified that a major surge had occurred in 1999, and assisted with field work.

The researchers studied the impact of salt water flooding on alder bushes along the coastline. More than half of the shrubs sampled were dead within a year of the 1999 surge, while an additional 37 per cent died within five years. A decade after the flood, the soils still contained high concentrations of salt. In addition, sediment core profiles from inland lakes revealed dramatic changes in the aquatic life with a striking shift from fresh to salt-water species following the storm surge.

"Our findings show this is ecologically unprecedented over the last millennium," says Queen's biology professor and team member John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and winner of the 2004 NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist. "The Arctic is on the front line of climate change. It's a bellwether of things to come: what affects the Arctic eventually will affect us all."

Since nearly all Arctic indigenous communities are coastal, the damage from future surges could also have significant social impacts. The team predicts that sea ice cover, sea levels and the frequency and intensity of storms and marine storm surges will become more variable in the 21st century.

Other members of the team include Trevor Lantz from the University of Victoria, Steven Kokelj from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Steven Solomon from the Geological Survey of Canada and Queen's undergraduate student Holly Nesbitt. Their findings are published in the prestigious international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nancy Dorrance
nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca
613-533-2869
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Striking the right balance: JBEI researchers counteract biofuel toxicity in microbes
2. Supplement produces a striking endurance boost
3. Brains, worms and computer chips have striking similarities
4. Scientists at the Ecological Society of Americas 2011 Annual Meeting to discuss global stewardship
5. UAB to prepare inventory of the worlds ecological conflicts
6. Precipitation, predators may be key in ecological regulation of infectious disease
7. Invasive mussels causing massive ecological changes in Great Lakes
8. Ecological scorecards to help assess status, trends in North Americas marine protected areas
9. Invasive plants can create positive ecological change
10. Oil in Gulf of Mexico: Biologists cite need for critical data to determine ecological consequences
11. Genetic variants linked to increased risk of common gynecological disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Striking ecological impact on Canada's Arctic coastline linked to global climate change
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative ... ... Maldives Immigration ... Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... Resoundant, Inc. is pleased ... centers around the U.S. that offer MR Elastography for liver fibrosis staging. ... biopsy for staging liver fibrosis assessment. , “MRE:connect was created in response to ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... digital pathology and artificial intelligence Tuesday, July 25, during the Association of Pathology ... Johns Hopkins Medicine. , Baras, Associate Director of Pathology Informatics, will present ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... , ... July 18, 2017 , ... ... accelerate pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics development, announces the launch of a new NTA biosensor ... chip enables researchers to study the kinetics of polyhistidine-tagged (His-tagged) molecules quickly and ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... ... Blood centers traditionally see a dangerous drop of blood donations during the ... community blood centers as high schools are out and many frequent donors are on ... up with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC), a subsidiary ...
Breaking Biology Technology: