Department Surface Waters - Research and Management

Nutrients and Toxic Metals in Arctic Rivers

Arctic rivers are important vectors of nutrients and biogeochemical tracers, connecting the catchment to the coastal ocean. However, these rivers can also transport toxic metals - high natural enrichments of potentially toxic metals (e.g. copper, zinc, lead) are found throughout Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. This can present local ecological risks that may be further exacerbated by anthropogenic activity.

This project investigates concentrations of nutrients and toxins in the rivers of Greenland, with a focus on controls of their distributions, their forms and their fluxes. The Arctic is a rapidly changing environment, with increasing ice melt, retreating glaciers, and altered precipitation patterns. Melting permafrost and land use change further alter river conditions.
Therefore, in addition to providing modern constraints on these understudied systems, this project will help to set baseline values to assess future change.