Why study thaw ponds?

Thaw ponds found in permafrost zones in the Arctic could have a significant impact on the global carbon cycle. Closer study is called for, particularly within the current climate change context. In Siberia, Alaska and Scandinavia, these areas have been studied, but in Canada, very little. Since 2005, over 75 ponds and lakes have been sampled in the Qarlikturvik Valley on Bylot Island by our research team.

We have studied numerous aspects of thaw pond ecology. We have described physicochemical characteristics (temperature, thermal structure, pH, nutrients), we measured concentration and fluxes of dissolved gases (oxygen, carbon dioxide and methane) as well as identified microbial communities.

Our goals are to better understand how these ecosystems function, what types of life forms proliferate there, how carbon circulates through the ecosystem, the impact of global warming on their development and their role in the tundra, as well as the overall influence these systems have on global climate.

Arctic ponds