01 Jun 2022
01 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Nunataryuk field campaigns: Understanding the origin and fate of terrestrial organic matter in the coastal waters of the Mackenzie Delta region

Martine Lizotte1, Bennet Juhls1,2,3, Atsushi Matsuoka1,4, Philippe Massicotte1, Gaëlle Mével1, David Obie James Anikina5, Sofia Antonova3, Guislain Bécu1, Marine Béguin1, Simon Bélanger6, Thomas Bossé-Demers1,7, Lisa Bröder8, Flavienne Bruyant1, Gwénaëlle Chaillou6, Jérôme Comte9, Raoul-Marie Couture1,7, Emmanuel Devred10, Gabrièle Deslongchamps1, Thibaud Dezutter1, Miles Dillon11, David Doxaran12, Aude Flamand6, Frank Fell13, Joannie Ferland1,14, Marie-Hélène Forget1, Michael Fritz3, Thomas J. Gordon15, Caroline Guilmette1, Andrea Hilborn10, Rachel Hussherr1,16, Charlotte Irish5, Fabien Joux17, Lauren Kipp18, Audrey Laberge-Carignan17, Hugues Lantuit3, Edouard Leymarie12, Antonio Mannino19, Juliette Maury12, Paul Overduin3, Laurent Oziel1,20, Colin Stedmon21, Crystal Thomas19, Lucas Tisserand17, Jean-Éric Tremblay1, Jorien Vonk22, Dustin Whalen23, and Marcel Babin1 Martine Lizotte et al.
  • 1Takuvik International Research Laboratory (IRL 3376), ULaval – CNRS, Biology department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
  • 2Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4University of New Hampshire, Durham, United States
  • 5Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation, Tuktoyaktuk, Canada
  • 6Université du Québec à Rimouski, Dép. de Biologie, Chimie et Géographie, groupes BORÉAS et Québec-Océan, Rimouski, Canada
  • 7Chemistry Department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
  • 8Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 9Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Quebec, Canada
  • 10Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada
  • 11Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee, Inuvik, Canada
  • 12Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, UMR7093 CNRS/SU, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
  • 13Informus GmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • 14Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte aux Changements Climatiques, Quebec, Canada
  • 15Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee, Aklavik, Canada
  • 16Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Manitoba, Canada
  • 17Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne, UMR7621 CNRS-Sorbonne Université, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Banyuls sur mer, France
  • 18Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, United States
  • 19NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
  • 20Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 21Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
  • 22Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Earth Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 23Natural Resources Canada, Dartmouth, Canada

Abstract. Climate warming and related drivers of soil thermal change in the Arctic are expected to modify the distribution and dynamics of carbon contained in perennially frozen grounds. Thawing of permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta region of northwestern Canada, coupled with increases in river discharge and coastal erosion, trigger the release of terrestrial organic matter (OMt) from the largest Arctic drainage basin in North America into the Arctic Ocean. While this process is ongoing, well-established, and its rate is accelerating, the fate of the newly-mobilized organic matter, as it transits from the watershed through the delta and into the marine system, remains poorly understood. In the framework of the European Horizon 2020 Nunataryuk programme, and as part of the Work Package 4 (WP4) Coastal Waters theme, four field expeditions were conducted in the Mackenzie Delta region and southern Beaufort Sea from April to September 2019. The temporal sampling design allowed the survey of ambient conditions in the coastal waters under full ice cover prior to the spring freshet, during ice break-up in summer, as well as anterior to the freeze-up period in fall. To capture the fluvial-marine transition zone, and with distinct challenges related to shallow waters and changing seasonal and meteorological conditions, the field sampling was conducted in close partnership with members of the communities of Aklavik, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, using several platforms: helicopters, snowmobiles and small boats. Water column profiles of physical and optical variables were measured in situ, while surface water, groundwater and sediment samples were collected and preserved for the determination of the composition and sources of OMt, including particulate and dissolved organic carbon (POC, DOC), and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), as well as a suite of physical, chemical and biological variables. Here we present an overview of the standardized datasets, including hydrographic profiles, remote sensing reflectance, temperature and salinity, particle absorption, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, particulate organic carbon, particulate organic nitrogen, colored dissolved organic matter absorption, fluorescent dissolved organic matter intensity, suspended particulate matter, total particulate carbon, total particulate nitrogen, stable water isotopes, radon in water, bacterial abundance, and a string of phytoplankton pigments including total chlorophyll. Datasets and related metadata can be found in Juhls et al. 2021.

Martine Lizotte et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Martine Lizotte et al.

Martine Lizotte et al.


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Short summary
Permafrost thaw in the Mackenzie Delta region results in the release of organic matter into the coastal marine environment. What happens to this carbon-rich organic matter as it transits along the fresh to salty aquatic environments is still under-documented. Four expeditions were conducted from April to September 2019 in the coastal area of the Beaufort Sea to study the fate of organic matter. This paper describes a rich set of data characterizing the composition and sources of organic matter.