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Paleolimnology in the Canadian Arctic using microcrustaceans

Daphnia middendorfiana Fischer, 1851

Several paleolimnological investigations explored the potential responses of the abundant northern freshwater ecosystems to future climate change, but so far these approaches did not include the group of microcrustaceans (Cladocera and Ostracoda) in recent research activities in northern Canada.

However, cladocerans or ostracods have already been successfully used to describe the development of lake ecosystems over time. Microcrustacean assemblages provide detailed information on essential ecological parameters and limnological conditions, such as water temperature, productivity, conductivity, and alkalinity in pelagic and benthic habitats.

In order to develop and establish this environmental indicator or "proxy" group in investigations as a routine method we will focus on two approaches. One investigates the biology, ecology and taxonomy of the species, regarding the poor knowledge of microcrustaceans in the study area, while the other builds up a significant data set that allows the development of strong transfer functions for quantitative environmental and climatic hindcasts and modelling. These reconstruction models (transfer functions) will significantly improve our understanding of the range of natural environmental variability in northeastern Canada in an attempt to answer fundamental questions concerning postglacial aquatic ecosystem succession in northern landscapes.

Coring from the ice

Tonnacypris glacialis (Sars, 1890)