UArctic Research Chair Jeff Welker and colleagues receive funding for an interdisciplinary Academy of Finland Consortium Project

Professor Welker and a team of UOulu colleagues from the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit ( Professor Anna-Maria Pirttilä and Drs. Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen, Jussi Jyväsjärvi, and Danny Croghan) and from the Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering (WE3) Research Unit (Assistant Professor Hannu Marttila and Associate Professor Pertti Ala-aho), will be undertaking a transformational research program addressing Arctic Carbon-Water Interactions (ACWI) in Pallas Finland using in part co-isotope tracer forensics (14C-18O) across a range of scales with climate and potentially aquatic food web consequences.
Forest and Pallasjärvi lake
Northern forested system surrounding Pallasjärvi, the area of research in the new Arctic Carbon-water interactions project.

Understand the nuances of Arctic interactions and their climate and ecosystem feedbacks are necessary today now more than ever; as northern regions are experiencing extreme warming, deeper soil thaw, and precipitation changes. This multidisciplinary research consortium will combine decades of Arctic and Boreal research experience and methods of hydrology, isotope geochemistry, microbial ecology, GHG exchanges, and remote sensing in a unique holistic manner to address these paramount issues of today. The overarching objective of the ACWI project is to determine how unique water sources liberate and transport C of different ages and liabilities and the extent to which this coupling of water and C sources drive the harmonics of stream and lake microbial C processing and GHG emissions.

The research consortium includes members from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (Associate Professor Annalea Lohila and Drs. Sari Juutinen and Mika Aurela ) and colleagues from the University of Helsinki, Professor Tarmo Virtanen. UOulu collaborations with FMI at Pallas research station were initiated in earnest with Welker’s original AoF award in 2018; this new ACWI project will deepen and expand these collaborations into a new suite of studies with new collaborators, colleagues and students in Finland and beyond.

This multidisciplinary research group will be addressing several issues that are cornerstones of the changing Arctic and Boreal systems today: including: a) microbial biodiversity and biogeochemical interactions; b) freshwater resources-weather-climate interactions, c) forest and landscape C source-sink balances and C neutrality, and d) the role of ancient C in tundra and aquatic trace gas emissions, stream and lake food webs. These multidisciplinary process-level observations will be scaled to regional patterns using remote sensing and will also further be used in earth science models. The team will use year-long measurements of C sources, ages (i.e. 14C – radiocarbon measurements) and quality paired with stable water isotopes (18O & 2H), that will delineate patterns of surface water connectivity to the adjoining riparian and forested uplands. These studies are not being undertaken is isolation but place our Pallas program within a network of catchment and watershed studies that address ACWI in a suite of locations: including Krycklan and Abisko Sweden, Oulanka Finland and at Toolik Lake, Alaska.

Last updated: 24.11.2022