Impacts of Mineral Dust on Trace Element Concentrations (As, Cd, Cu, Ni and Pb) in Lichens and Soils at Lhù’ààn Mân’ (Yukon Territory, Canada)

Pouillé S., Talbot J., Tamalavage A.E., Kessler-Nadeau M.É. & King J.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
129(6): e2023JG007927 [17 p.]
Dust is a mineral aerosol of the atmosphere that often contains trace elements such as As, Cd, and Pb. Lhù’ààn Mân’ (Kluane Lake), located in southwestern Yukon, is a region of frequent dust activity. In 2016, the lake level fell due to a dramatic decrease in inflow from glacier meltwater, and the delta of the lake became an important source of dust to surrounding ecosystems. To determine the impacts of dust deposition on vegetation and soil trace element concentrations and characteristics, we sampled the lichen Peltigera canina and soil layers at 57 sites along a deposition gradient located 1.4–33.6 km downwind from the principal dust source. Arsenic, Cd, Cu, Ni and Pb in lichens were negatively correlated with the distance away from the dust source, with the highest correlations in Ni and Pb (r2 = 0.50 and 0.48, respectively). Lichen and tree abundances were negatively impacted by dust deposition, suggesting that dust can affect ecosystem vegetation composition. Starting 8 km away from the dust source, the concentrations of As, Ni, and Pb decreased by more than 50% per km, while Cd and Cu concentrations decreased by more than 40% per km. Overall, within the sampled ecosystems, soil pH is 1.4 times higher in the first 8 km from the dust source while carbon content and nutrients are lower, which implies changes in nutrient availability and cycling in dust-affected ecosystems.
Monday, 03 June 2024 10:03