Methods for Arctic Lake Research

Lakes in high latitudes provide a range of ecosystem services to northern communities. These lakes are variable at a range of time-scales. We combine observations of modern ecosystem state with investigations of lake dynamics.  

We apply a broad range of methods:

  • Field work - we perform expeditions every year to polar regions, with main interest in the Eastern Arctic. In winter we use trucks on winter roads, that is frozen rivers and lakes, to reach remote lake sites. In summer we use helicopters, because the absence of roads on thawing permafrost does not allow the use of cars.
  • Coring Technique - we mainly use UWITEC coring technique: piston coring system to retrieve long cores, gravity coring to retrieve short cores with intact surface layers. We prefer winter ice condition to retrieve long cores through ice holes facilitated by stable position above ground. During summer we operate our systems from a raft.
  • Water chemistry - we use portable water chemistry analysers to measure temperature, pH, oxygen, and conductivity on-site. Samples are transported to our laboratories in Potsdam/Germany or partner institutes to measure ions, cations, and water isotopes.
  • Sediment cores are transported at 4°C to AWI laboratories to analyse elements by XRF core scanning, mineral composition by XRD analysis, grain size distibution by laser particle sizing, organic contents using a VarioMAX. We analyse pollen, diatoms and chironomids and the ancient DNA.