Original paper

The matter fluxes in the geoecosystem of small tundra lakes, Petuniabukta coast, Billefjorden, Central Spitsbergen

Zwolinski, Zbigniew; Mazurek, Malgorzata; Paluszkiewicz, Renata; Rachlewicz, Grzegorz

Abstract

Arctic wetlands reflect considerable contemporary environmental changes relating to climate warming, such as growing extent of paraglacial area and increase of active layer thickness. Small tundra lakes and ponds located within the system of raised marine terraces on the eastern coast of Petuniabukta (the northern tip of Billefjorden in Central Spitsbergen) were investigated for hydrological, hydrochemical and sedimentological purposes in summer seasons 2001-2003 and 2006. Despite small extent of the area of investigations, lake waters are characterised by high variability of specific electrical conductivity (376-1201 μS/cm) and concentration of cations and anions. Principal components analysis indicate, that chemical composition is under constant influence of crustal components reflecting geological setting (carbonate rocks, anhydrite and gypsum outcrops) and marine components, which amount depends on the distance from the coast and the exposure to marine aerosols. Tundra wetlands play an important role as the local geostorage of mineral matter delivered by aeolian and niveo-aeolian processes and solutes supplied by precipitation and marine aerosols, the seasonal activity of permafrost active layer, and the production of biomass in tundra ecosystem. Today, the area of lakes is in the stage of significant decrease and is replaced by freshwater marshes. Results from the limnologic investigation of the lakes enrich data from arid polar climate tundra zone on Spitsbergen where lake monitoring up to now has been rare.