Original paper

Water chemistry of ponds on Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada: effects of habitat and ornithogenic inputs

Mallory, Mark L.; Fontaine, Alain J.; Smith, Paul A.; Wiebe Robertson, Myra O.; Gilchrist, H. Grant


We investigated the water chemistry of 32 small lakes and ponds on Southampton Island, Nunavut, in July 2001 and 2002. The ponds were generally small and shallow and at low elevation, with half < 20 m a. s. l. and within 5 km of the coast. All of the ponds were alkaline (pH range 7.2-8.1), and shared similar major ion chemistries dominated by Ca and Na for cations, and Cl for anions, although there were some differences observed among habitats. Nutrients were relatively high compared to other Arctic islands, particularly for total nitrogen, which suggested that ponds on Southampton Island are P-limited. One pond was located in an eider colony, and water chemistry underwent a dramatic increase in nutrients, certain ions, and metals over a nine week sampling period, presumably the result of ornithogenic inputs from faeces, as well as resuspension of sediments as eiders moved in the pond. Collectively the water chemistry of ponds on Southampton Island are somewhat similar to those on Victoria and Banks islands, and appear to represent a transition between conditions found in sites on the Arctic mainland, and the spartan characteristics of sites on the high arctic islands. However, the recent expansion of goose populations and the associated degradation of lowland habitats on the island may lead to changes in pond chemistries.


southampton islandpondsnutrientsgeeseguanowater chemistry