J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 201 - 201

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 201
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030277

Trace elements in freshwater ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic

H. Borg

Institute of Applied Environmental Research (ITM), Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden

The expedition Tundra North West 99 visited 17 sites across the Canadian Arctic in order to sample freshwater, sediments, soil and biotic compartments of the ecosystems. Trace metal concentrations were determined using ICP-MS. Dating of sediment profiles using 137Cs showed a very low sedimentation rate in these lakes ( <1 mm/yr). The lake waters were mostly well buffered with high pH and hardness, with the exception of lakes on Ellef Ringnes Island and Baffin Island. Trace metal concentrations in lake waters were generally low, but with some locally elevated concentrations. Trace metal profiles in sediments showed influence of catchment geology, indicated by elevated concentrations at some sites, e.g. NW Yukon. Increased concentrations of Cd, Hg, Zn, Pb, Tl and some other elements, found in recent sediment layers may indicate long-range airbome pollution. The elevated concentrations of e.g. Cd and Cu in the sediments and water at the Yukon site were also reflected in fish. Cd-concentrations in Arctic char liver were about 10 times higher than in other areas in the Arctic and in northern Sweden. Cd-concentrations in char liver were otherwise low with slightly elevated values in the more soft water lake at Baffin Island. Mercury concentrations in sediment at the Yukon site were 20-40 times higher than in the other lakes, whereas the concentration in fish muscle were still not elevated, which may be explained by the also elevated Se concentrations in the lake. The variations in Hgconcentrations in Arctic char were otherwise small, with the highest values at Ungava Peninsula and Ellesmere Island.

© EDP Sciences 2003