project
BetuLeaf project 
Global climate change is affecting Arctic ecosystems. Higher annual air temperature in the Arctic causes the thawing of permafrost (currently permanently frozen ground), leaking mineral elements into soil water that are eventually absorbed by plants. As scientists, we want to study which elements end up in plants, and their impact (positive or negative) on plant health.
How can you help?
A large scale collection of leaves, specifically that of common dwarf birch (Betula nana L.), would allow us to measure the element transfer from permafrost to Arctic ecosystems. The leaves that you will collect during your walk will be sent to our laboratory in Paris, France, to assess the different mineral element concentrations (for example, copper, nickel, selenium, and lead). We will localize this measurement and generate a map of element concentrations. As Betula nana can be found in many Arctic locations, we will be able to compare the distribution of elements and track the effect of climate change on ecosystem health.
Betula nana
How to recognize Betula nana, the dwarf birch
Betula nana is a shrub, a small rounded woody plant with multiple prostate to ascending branches never higher than 1 m and almost 1 m width.

Leaves are small and nearly round, 6-20 mm long, edge with rounded teeth.

protocol
Main steps of the protocol
Download the full protocol
results
Using the data that you collect, we will generate a map of Arctic sites with element concentrations in plant samples. This will help us to understand the element availability with permafrost thaw.