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  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Effects of permafrost thaw on microbial organic matter utilization in Arctic streams

  • Aarhus University
  • Ada
  • Ole Worms Allé 1 bygning 1135
  • Aarhus, Denmark 8000 Denmark
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Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Microbial Organic Matter Utilization in Arctic StreamsAda Pastor -Postdoc Researcher Aarhus University (Denmark)Why?The soil organic carbon (OC) pools in the northern circumpolar permafrost region account for approximately 50% of the belowground OC global sinks, mostly in perennial frozen soils (i.e. permafrost). Due to climate change, the permafrost melt both through gradual extensive deepening of the active layer and through development of thermokarst landforms. Fluvial networks are well known to efficiently mineralize terrestrial OC, however to what extend the fraction of remobilized OC would be mineralized or stored in-stream, rather than being exported to the sea, is still unclear.Microorganisms are key responsible for efficient transformation of fluvial OC, in part, due to their ability to synthesize extracellular enzymes. Enzyme capabilities allow microbes obtaining OC from a diverse array of compounds, degrading complex organic compounds into assimilable smaller molecules. Despite the importance of the extracellular enzymatic activities for OC processing, studies in Arctic are scarce and limited to seawater and river water. Our current research in High-Arctic streams in North-East Greenland has shown differences on the OC usage of the aquatic microbiota depending on the landscape features. What?The overall aim of this project is to determine how climate-induced changes in permafrost thaw will influence OC stream biogeochemical processing among Arctic ecosystems regions. We will address the effects of permafrost thaw in microbial organic matter utilization in Arctic freshwaters by measuring in-stream OC and microbial extracellular enzymatic. We will provide paramount information on how transported OC is processed in-stream, identify the key drivers of biological OC degradation, and thus contributing on our understanding on the OC-permafrost fate either being mineralized in-stream, contributing to C-climate feedback, or exported downstream to the sea. The dramatic impacts of climatic changes in the Arctic region makes this research essential to address unexplored aspects of the biogeochemical role of streams and assess the fate of remobilized OC from permafrost melting.When?Field work will be conducted during summer 2019, with an expected duration of three weeks.Where?My work will be conducted at Cambridge Bay close to Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) Samples will be obtained from Freshwater Creek and nearby freshwater bodies (streams, ponds…) close to the Environment Canada gauging station (10TF001; 69.1311 N; 104.996 W). I will collect water samples for nutrient and carbon analyses, and small amounts of moss, microbes and microalgae on cobbles (biofilm), sediment and riparian soil and bring back to Aarhus University (Denmark) for analyses. The access to the field location will be either walking, fat bikes or ATV. Who?The applicant (Dr. Pastor) is postdoc researcher at Aarhus University (Denmark). The field work will be conducted by the applicant and an accompanying person. This project was awarded by the first call of Canada-Denmark Arctic Research Station Early Career Scientist Exchange Program.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Application screening started 2019-04-15
  • Technical advisor assigned 2019-04-15
  • Commenting in progress 2019-04-17
  • Kitikmeot
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2019-04-18 15:19:23

NIRB 125452/19YN010: Notice of Screening and Comment Request for Aarhus University's "Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Microbial Organic Matter in Arctic Streams" Project Proposal


    Dear Ada Pastor:

    Please see the attached correspondence from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) regarding Aarhus University's "Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Microbial Organic Matter in Arctic Streams" project proposal.

    NIRB File No.: 19YN010
    Project Name: "Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Microbial Organic Matter in Arctic Streams"
    Project Proponent: Aarhus University
    Project Type: Research
    Location: Kitikmeot Region
    Comments Requested by: April 29, 2019

    The NIRB is copying parties potentially affected by this project and we invite interested persons to comment directly to the NIRB regarding:

  • Whether the project proposal is likely to arouse significant public concern; and if so, why;
  • Whether the project proposal is likely to cause significant adverse eco-systemic or socio-economic effects; and if so, why;
  • Whether the project proposal is likely to cause significant adverse impacts on wildlife habitat or Inuit harvest activities; if so, why;
  • Whether the project proposal is of a type where the potential adverse effects are highly predictable and mitigable with known technology, (please provide any recommended mitigation measures); and
  • Any matter of importance to the Party related to the project proposal.

    You can submit comments to the NIRB by our online public registry at or via e-mail at or via fax to 867-983-2594.

    All documents received and pertaining to this project proposal can be accessed from the NIRB’s online public registry at

    The NIRB has attached a Public Notice of Screening in English and Inuinnaqtun for interested parties and Municipalities to post on local bulletin boards within your community.

    If you have any questions or require clarification, feel free to contact the Erin Reimer, Technical Advisor I, at (867) 857- 4566 or at

    Best regards,

    Andrea Omilgoitok
    Environmental Administrator

    Nunavut Impact Review Board
    29 Mitik Street
    P.O. Box 1360
    Cambridge Bay
    NU, X0B 0C0 Canada
    Phone: (867) 983-4600
    Toll Free: 1-866-233-3033
    Fax: (867) 983-2594

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