A 2.9 m long sedimentary record was studied from a small lake, here referred to as Duck Lake, located at 76°25′N, 18°45′W on Store Koldewey, an elongated island off the coast of Northeast Greenland. The sediments were investigated for their geophysical and biogeochemical characteristics, and for their fossil chironomid assemblages. Organic matter began to accumulate in the lake at 9.1 cal. kyr BP, which provides a minimum age for the deglaciation of the basin. Although the early to mid-Holocene is known as a thermal maximum in East Greenland, organic matter accumulation in the lake remained low during the early Holocene, likely due to late plant immigration and lack of nutrient availability. Organic matter accumulation increased during the middle and late Holocene, when temperatures in East Greenland gradually decreased. Enhanced soil formation probably led to higher nutrient availability and increased production in the lake. Chironomids are abundant throughout the record after 9.1 cal. kyr BP and seem to react sensitively to changes in temperature and nutrient availability. It is concluded that relative temperature reconstructions based on biogeochemical data have to be regarded critically, particularly in the period shortly after deglaciation when nutrient availability was low. Chironomids may be a suitable tool for climatic reconstructions even in those high arctic environments. However, a better understanding of the ecology of chironomids under these extreme conditions is needed.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima