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

Martine Lizotte*, Bennet Juhls, Atsushi Matsuoka, Philippe Massicotte, Gaëlle Mével, David Obie James Anikina, Sofia Antonova, Guislain Bécu, Marine Béguin, Simon Bélanger, Thomas Bossé-Demers, Lisa Bröder, Flavienne Bruyant, Gwénaëlle Chaillou, Jérôme Comte, Raoul Marie Couture, Emmanuel Devred, Gabrièle Deslongchamps, Thibaud Dezutter, Miles DillonDavid Doxaran, Aude Flamand, Frank Fell, Joannie Ferland, Marie Hélène Forget, Michael Fritz, Thomas J. Gordon, Caroline Guilmette, Andrea Hilborn, Rachel Hussherr, Charlotte Irish, Fabien Joux, Lauren Kipp, Audrey Laberge-Carignan, Hugues Lantuit, Edouard Leymarie, Antonio Mannino, Juliette Maury, Paul Overduin, Laurent Oziel, Colin Stedmon, Crystal Thomas, Lucas Tisserand, Jean Éric Tremblay, Jorien Vonk, Dustin Whalen, Marcel Babin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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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 River watershed of northwestern Canada, coupled with increases in river discharge and coastal erosion, triggers 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 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 breakup in summer, and 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, namely 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 and DOC), and colored 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, CDOM 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 (10.1594/PANGAEA.937587).

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarth System Science Data
Volume15
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1617-1653
Number of pages37
ISSN1866-3508
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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