POLYGON: Polygons in tundra wetlands: State and dynamics under climate variability in Polar Regions (Joint German-Russian Research Project, 2011-2014)
Fig.1: Polygonal tundra near Chokurdakh (NE-Siberia) and study areas of the POLYGON project
Fig.1: Polygonal tundra near Chokurdakh (NE-Siberia) and study areas of the POLYGON project
Research Topic of the entire POLYGON project
Permafrost regions are strongly affected by ongoing global warming. The widely distributed Arctic patterned ground of polygonal wetlands underlain by permafrost is considered to be sensitive to environmental and climate change. In a combined ecological and palaeo-ecological approach, modern, sub-recent and fossil ice-wedge polygons are studied at representative sites in the northeast Siberian lowlands in order to understand the temporal and spatial variation of polygon dynamics and their relation to climate change. In the study design limnological, (palaeo-)ecological, pedological and cryological methods are tightly interconnected to assess modern and palaeo-environmental conditions and their main forcing parameters thoroughly. Terrestrial and aquatic communities are studied and cryogenic processes affecting polygonal landscape are observed and evaluated. Results from the proposed project will allow predicting future environmental dynamics in permafrost regions. The POLYGON project brings together German and Russian expertise in Arctic ecology and permafrost science addresses the following research questions:
- How do modern North Yakutian polygons function? – A modern ecological approach
- How are polygon dynamics related to climate variation and change on annual, decadal, centennial and millennial time scales? – A palaeoecological approach
- What can we learn from past and present polygon dynamics to properly predict future arctic environmental reactions to global warming? –A synthesis and modelling approach
History of the Greifswald polygon mire research
Since 2003 the Greifswald team studied Siberian polygon mires during several expeditions and excursions. In total six ice-wedge polygons were analysed- all of them with the same high-resolution spatial (and temporal) proven method. The following relevant papers have meanwhile been produced:
- De Klerk, P. & Donner, N. (2005): Paläoökologische Untersuchungen zur Entwicklung von Polygonmooren in NO Jakutien. Palyno-Bulletin 1(3/4): 9.
- Minke, M., Donner, N. & Joosten, H. (2005): The role of vegetation in the development of polygon mires. In: Proceedings, 2nd European conference on Permafrost. AWI Potsdam: 73.
- Minke, M., Donner, N., Karpov, N.S., de Klerk, P. & Joosten, H. (2007): Distribution, diversity, development and dynamics of polygon mires: examples from Northeast Yakutia (Siberia). Peatlands International 2007(1): 36-40.
- Minke, M., Donner, N., Karpov, N.S., Seifert, N. & Joosten, H. (2007): A window to the soul: biotic/abiotic feedback mechanisms in polygon mire ecosystems. In: Influence of climatic and ecological changes on permafrost ecosystems. Proceedings of the third international conference "The role of permafrost ecosystems in global climate change". YSC Publishing House SB RAS, Yakutsk: 115-121.
- Minke, M., Donner, N., de Klerk, P., Karpov, N.S., Sofronov, R.R. & Joosten, H. (2008): Spatial and temporal variation in carbon accumulation in a Northeast Siberian arctic polygon mire over the last millennium. Geophysical Research Abstracts 10: EGU2008-A-07425.
- Minke, M., Donner, N., Karpov, N.S., de Klerk, P. & Joosten, H. (2009): Patterns in vegetation composition, surface height and thaw depth in polygon mires in the Yakutian Arctic (NE Siberia): a microtopographical characterization of the active layer. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 20: 357-368.
- De Klerk, P., Donner, N., Joosten, H., Karpov, N.S., Minke, M., Seifert, N. & Theuerkauf, M. (2009.): Vegetation patterns, recent pollen deposition and distribution of non-pollen palynomoprhs in a polygon mire near Chokurdakh (NE Yakutia, NE Siberia). Boreas 38: 39-58.
- De Klerk, P., Donner, N., Karpov, N.S., Minke, M. & Joosten, H. (2011): Short-term dynamics of a low-centred ice wedge polygon near Chokurdakh (NE Yakutia, NE Siberia) and climate change during the last ca. 1250 years. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 3013-3031.
- Donner, N., Minke, M., de Klerk, P., Sofronov, R. & Joosten, H. 2012. Patterns in polygon mires in north-eastern Yakutia, Siberia: The role of vegetation and water. In: Lindholm, T. & Heikkilä, R. (eds.): Mires from pole to pole. The Finnish Environment 38: 19-30.
High resolution palaeo-ecological studies of ice-wedge polygon mires in the Indigirka-Kolyma Lowlands (NE Siberia, Russia)
Recent studies of the Greifswald Department of Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology
Fig.2: Circumpolar distribution of ice-wedge polygon mires and the study areas (a) of the low-high center polygon Lhc11 (b) and the collapsed polygon complex Mnp12 (c)
Little is known to what extent polygon mire dynamics are controlled by climate change and to what extent they result from polygon internal feed-back processes. Two ice-wedge polygon mires in NE Yakutia, a low-high center polygon at Kytalyk near Chokurdakh (Lhc11) and a collapsed polygon complex at Pokhodsk near Chersky (Mnp12), were subject to intensive studies. Actuo-ecological research included mapping of vegetation and height of ground surface and frozen soil in a grid of one meter resolution and high resolution palynological surface studies of the relation between actual vegetation and pollen deposition.
Fig.3: Elevation model of the low-high center polygon Lhc11 near Chokurdakh (NE Siberia) with the location of the seven peat sections (white arrows) for palaeoecological research
Palaeo-ecological studies are carried-out on closely-spaced peat sections (Fig.3) in order to reveal short-distance differences and changes in peat formation. First results indicate that the polygon ridge of Lhc11 migrated inwards from its original position that is now occupied by a trough. 210 contiguous 0.5 cm thick samples of a current wall section have been analysed on pollen, macrofossils and various abiotic parameters and provide the currently most detailed palaeo-record of the entire Arctic, with the base dating at ca. 4000 calendar years B.P.
Fig. 4: Distribution of Rubus chamaemorus in the study site of the low-high center polygon Lhc11 (a) and a fruiting plant of Rubus chamaemorus (b)
Siberian Expedition- KYTALYK 2011
Fig. 5: Impressions of the Siberian Expedition KYTALYK 2011
Field studies in the vicinity of the Kytalyk station and along the Berelekh River were performed from July 14th to August 28th 2011. In total 12 colleagues (6 Germans, 6 Russians) from six different institutes and universities participated in the expedition. The route of the groups was from Moscow via Yakutsk and Chokurdakh by airplane. The travel to the Kytalyk station was continued by boat along the Berelekh River (Schirrmeister et al. 2012).
Siberian Expedition- KYTALYK-POKHODSK 2012
Fig. 6: Impressions of the Siberian Expedition (KYTALYK)-POKHODSK 2012
Field studies were performed a) in the vicinity of the Kytalyk station (see chapter: Siberian Expedition KYTALYK 2011), b) in the vicinity of the village Pokhodsk and c) along the Kolyma tributary. The expediton last from July 1th to September 1th 2012. In total 30 colleagues from different institutes and universities participated in the expedition. The route of the groups was from Moscow via Chersky by airplane. The travel to the village Pokhodsk was continued by boat along the Kolyma River.
POLYGON meeting in Greifswald
POLYGON project meeting took place in Greifswald from January 27th to 29th 2013. In total 17 colleagues (14 Germans, 3 Russians) participated on the meeting. It was a successful meeting with one day full of interesting science presentations, reflection of the project process and future outlook. The next project meeting will take place in St. Petersburg from February 1th to 5th 2014.
Pim de Klerk (Link to the hompage of Pim de Klerk)
- Enrico Behrens, Bachelor thesis: Records from the collapsed polygon complex Mnp12 for modern and palaeoecological studies
- Dany Bunk, Practical course: Modelling of vegetation maps of the low-high center polygon Lhc11
- Arne Lüder, Bachelor thesis: XRF-Elementanalysen an Ablagerungen eines sibirischen Polygonmoores und ihre landschaftsgeschichtlichen Aussagen (Kytalyk/ Nordost-Sibirien/ Russland)
- Vigdis Ratzbor, Bachelor thesis: High resolution macrofossil analysis of an Arctic ice-wedge polygon profile (Kytalyk/Siberia)
- Juliane Seyfert, Diploma thesis: Eine ästhetische Betrachtung der Moore - Eine mögliche umweltethische Wertschätzung von Polygonmooren aufgrund ihrer ästhetischen Musterbildung
- Fabian Beermann, Annette Teltewskoi, Claudia Fiencke, Eva-Maria Pfeiffer & Lars Kutzbach (in press) Stoichiometric analysis of nutrient availability (N, P, K) within soils of polygonal tundra. Biogeochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10533-014-0037-4
- Yang Gao & John Couwenberg (in press) Carbon accumulation in a permafrost polygon peatland: steady long term rates in spite of shifts between dry and wet conditions. Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12742
- Pim de Klerk, Annette Teltewskoi, Martin Theuerkauf & Hans Joosten (2014) Vegetation patterns, pollen deposition and distribution of non-pollen palynomorphs in an ice-wedge polygon near Kytalyk (NE Siberia), with some remarks on Arctic pollen morphology. Polar Biology 37: 1393-1412, DOI: 10.1007/s00300-014-1529-3
- Enrico Behrens (2014), Bachelor thesis: Beziehungen zwischen Arten, Auftautiefe und Geländeoberfläche in einem Polygonmoor in Nordostjakutien, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald
- Hans Joosten (2014) Arctic polygon mires: the state of our understanding. In: Vieira, G., Pina, P., Mora, C. & Correia, A. (eds.): EUCOP4 book of abstracts. 4th European Conference on Permafrost 18-21 June 2014. University of Lisbon/University of Évora: 225.
- Annette Teltewskoi, Pim de Klerk, Vigdis Ratzbor, Dierk Michaelis & Hans Joosten (2014) Spatio-temporal dynamics of an ice-wedge-polygon in the Indigirka-Lowlands (NE Siberia, Russia). In: Vieira, G., Pina, P., Mora, C. & Correia, A. (eds.): EUCOP4 book of abstracts. 4th European Conference on Permafrost 18-21 June 2014. University of Lisbon/University of Évora: 226.
- Vigdis Ratzbor, Annette Teltewskoi, Dierk Michaelis & Hans Joosten (2014) High resolution macrofossil analysis of an NE-Siberian ice-wedge polygon. In: Vieira, G., Pina, P., Mora, C. & Correia, A. (eds.): EUCOP4 book of abstracts. 4th European Conference on Permafrost 18-21 June 2014. University of Lisbon/University of Évora: 241.
- Arne Lüder (2013), Bachelor thesis: XRF-Elementanalysen an Ablagerungen eines sibirischen Polygonmoores und ihre landschaftsgeschichtlichen Aussagen (Kytalyk/Nordost-Sibieren/Rußland), Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald
- Juliane Seyfert (2013), diploma thesis : "Eine ästhetische Betrachtung der Moore - Eine mögliche umweltethische Wertschätzung von Polygonmooren aufgrund ihrer ästhetischen Musterbildung", Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald
- Juliane Seyfert (2013), poster : An aesthetic of mires - An appropriate appreciation of polygon mires caused by their aesthetic pattern¬ formation, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald
- Annette Teltewskoi, Juliane Seyfert & Hans Joosten (2012): Records from the model polygon LHC-11 for modern and palaeoecological studies. In: Schirrmeister, L., Pestryakova, L, Wetterich, S. & Tumskoy, V. (eds.): Joint Russian-German Polygon Project East Siberia 2011 - 2014: The expedition Kytalyk 2011. Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung / reports on Polar and Marine Research 653, 153 p; hdl: 10013/epic.40369 or http://epic.awi.de/31609/
- Annette Teltewskoi, Pim de Klerk, Juliane Seyfert, Enrico Behrens, Martin Schrön, Dierk Michaelis & Hans Joosten (2012), poster: High resolution Palaeo-ecological studies of polygon mires in the Indigirka-Kolyma Lowlands. 5. Treffen des AK Permafrost in Potsdam, 15.-17.11.2012.
- Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald (EMAU)
- Moscow State Lomonosov-University (MSU)
- State Pedagogical Herzen-University (StPSPU)
- University of Hamburg (UHH)
- Yakutsk State University (YSU)