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:1/20/2016)... LONDON , Jan. 20, 2016 A ... positioned to directly benefit from the explosion in genomics ... from Howe Sound Research. A range of dynamic trends ... ...... - personalized medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen ... economies with large markets - greater understanding of the ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced sampling of ... solution for wearables and small screen applications including ... as printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as ... offers excellent performance with moisture on screen, while ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 ... forcing companies big and small to find new ways ... data driven culture. iOS and ... their device based on biometrics, transforming it into a ... can request that users swipe their fingerprint on their ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... SAN DIEGO, Feb. 11, 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... year ended December 31, 2015. --> ... reported a net loss of $29.3 million, or $0.34 loss per ... loss per share for the same period in 2014. For the ... of $88.9 million, or $1.05 loss per share, as compared to ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Germany and GERMANTOWN, ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced ... RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio ... The panels enable researchers to select from over 20,000 ... and discover interactions between genes, cellular phenotypes and disease ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions ... that provides biopharma companies the experience, expertise, operational ... deploy outsourced sales teams. Created in concert with ... both the strategic and tactical needs of its ... solutions through both personal and non-personal promotion. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... ... ... (BPI), a business-to-business publication dedicated to delivering cutting-edge information focused on the ... Healthcare Life Sciences to become a premier sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess ...
Breaking Biology Technology: