Reconstitution paléolimnologique des effets des activités anthropiques de la péninsule de Fildes, Îles Shetland du Sud, Antarctique

Authors: Yergeau, Samuel
Advisor: Antoniades, Dermot; Giralt, Santiago
Abstract: The Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) has been the site of yearround human presence since the construction of Bellingshausen Station in 1968. There are now six permanent bases on the peninsula, implying one of the densest concentrations of humans in Antarctica with a permanent population of 125 and a summer peak of 300. Substantial infrastructure has been installed to support these bases, including an airport, roads, pipelines, and diesel generators. This project proposes to study a series of lakes of the Fildes Peninsula using a paleolimnological approach to assess the degree to which they have been impacted by anthropogenic activities and climate change during the last 60 years. Therefore, the project aims the analysis of sediment cores extracted from six lakes of Fildes Peninsula: five of which are near the bases and one is farther on the peninsula. Diatoms are used as a biological indicator to determine how aquatic communities have changed over time in response to those changes. Micro-X-Ray fluorescence has also been used to observe the geochemical evolution of the lakes. The results demonstrate that the recent evolution of the lakes greatly depends on their proximity to human activities. Two of the six studied lakes have shown a response to the enrichment in heavy metals coming from human activities. On the other side, the control lake has shown a response to the effects of climate change. The three other studied lakes have shown a relative stability while not reacting to human activities nor climate change. The results of this study will be an important step in the environmental monitoring of the impacts of Fildes Peninsula bases on the environment. The insights gained will serve to better understand how the changing intensity of human activities has affected the local landscape, and therefore to predict how the region’s ecosystems may respond to future changes.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 8 February 2021
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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