Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: PostDoctoral Research Fellowship (Award# 0852075)

PI: Johnson, Cody R (
Institute/Department: CH2M HILL Polar Services,  
IPY Project? NO
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\PPD
Program Manager: Dr. William Wiseman (
Discipline(s): | Geological Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). Consistent with predictions from observed warming trends; active layer depth and thermokarst features have increased in the Arctic. Wildfires are a major driver of active layer depth and thermokarst features because they alter surface heat budgets through combustion of insulating vegetation and decreased albedo. Increased sediment loading from warming and fire may have dramatic effects on arctic lake ecosystem. The Anaktuvuk River (AR) fire of 2007 in Arctic Alaska was an expansive wildfire (>1000 km2). Large thermokarst features from this event were observed near lakes during summer 2008. The PI will investigate impacts of increased sedimentation and nutrient loading on lake biogeochemistry and sediment metabolism. Objectives 1) Monitor the development and recovery of 2 large thermokarst failures on lakes within the area burned by the AR fire. 2) Quantify sediment loading to lakes impacted by fire and thermokarst failures. 3) Determine impacts of thermokarst-driven increases in sediment loading on a) nutrient flux from the lake bottom to the water column, and b) sediment metabolism in deep and shallow areas of lakes. The major intellectual merit of this research is in understanding how landscape disturbances in arctic regions impact terrestrial and aquatic nutrient and sediment transport and breakdown. Furthermore, this research will contribute to the knowledge and concepts of disturbance ecology.

Logistics Summary:
The PI will study the effects of a wildfire over continuous permafrost on arctic lake ecosystems. During 2009 and 2010, a team of two will base from Toolik Station and conduct experiments at five lakes representing different lacustrine ecosystems, some within and some outside the Anaktuvuk River burn area. They will travel via helicopter to and from the study sites, making 2 sets of two trips in early spring and 3 sets of two trips in mid- to late-summer each year. The researchers will collect water samples for nutrient analysis, organism biomass, and physical parameters, returning the samples to Toolik Field Station for further processing. No hazardous materials will be required for field analysis.

CPS will provide payment of Toolik user days, helicopter support, and safety/camping equipment. IAB will provide access to services and infrastructure at Toolik. The PI will arrange and pay for all other logistics through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2009Alaska - Toolik06 / 07 / 2009 08 / 29 / 20092
2010Alaska - Toolik05 / 09 / 2010 08 / 31 / 20102

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