We use lake sediments to investigate questions requiring a long‑term perspective on the effects of climate change and other environmental perturbations on ecosystems. Here we propose to apply our lake sediment coring methods to study :
- ecological and climatological changes in Greenland
- historical Arctic cultures such as the Paleoeskimo, Thule and the
Norse who occupied Greenland over a thousand years ago.
We propose to develop a novel untargeted “omics”-based method to discover next-generation sediment biomarkers and to corroborate this information with more traditional targeted biomarkers, microfossils, and microbial DNA. We are planning to extend this technique to examine organic compounds deposited during the time of the Paleoeskimo, Thule and Norse to determine novel biomarkers for their presence, and to discover additional paleo-ecological biomarkers relevant to the Arctic. We also plan to use metagenomes extracted from dated sediment cores to develop novel taxonomic or functional biomarkers of human presence by targeting the human gut microbiota. Targeted analysis will include investigations into sterols/stanols, diatoms, stable isotopes (like δ15N), metals (like Hg), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (as tracers of fuel burning), alkanes (tracers of plant waxes) and pigments.
Our goal is to develop new tools to track historical climatic changes and possibly human presence in Arctic environments using dated lake sediments.