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In order to fully understand the significance of climate changes are in the Arctic, it is necessary to determine the magnitude of the natural temperature variations in order to place current changes in a longer-term context . High latitude lakes are particularly sensitive to environmental variations and their sediments represent important potential archives of these fluctuations. By using a paleolimnological approach, this project aims to provide a better understanding of the functioning of the Arctic ecosystems and geosystems and their roles in the global climate system.
Despite being at the northernmost fringe of land on Earth, the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island is a highly dynamic region that has experienced significant climatic variability during the Holocene. The study lake is located in a glacial valley in this region (82º54 'N; 66º58' W). The lake that once was connected to the ocean was isolated following isostatic rebound after the regional glacial retreat.
In this study, I will study diatoms, which possess many characteristics of ideal bioindicators. Since diatoms have specific ecological preferences, it will be possible to reconstruct limnological conditions that are associated with climate (e.g. pH, temperature, conductivity, mixing). My project will have two main objectives: 1) to determine the timing of the isolation of the lake by using diatom assemblages to detect the change from sea water to fresh water; and 2) to document climatic variability along the extreme terrestrial margin of the High Arctic during the Holocene.