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  • Ryberg, Eleonor E.; Väliranta, Minna; Martinez-Cortizas, Antonio; Ehrlen, Johan; Sjostrom, Jenny K.; Kylander, Malin E. (2022)
    Boreal peatlands are facing significant changes in response to a warming climate. Sphagnum mosses are key species in these ecosystems and contribute substantially to carbon sequestration. Understanding the factors driving vegetation changes on longer time scales is therefore of high importance, yet challenging since species changes are typically affected by a range of internal and external processes acting simultaneously within the system. This study presents a high-resolution macrofossil analysis of a peat core from Store Mosse bog (south-central Sweden), dating back to nearly 10 000 cal. a BP. The aim is to identify factors driving species changes on multidecadal to millennial timescales considering internal autogenic, internal biotic and external allogenic processes. A set of independent proxy data was used as a comparison framework to estimate changes in the bog and regional effective humidity, nutrient input and cold periods. We found that Store Mosse largely follows the expected successional pathway for a boreal peatland (i.e. lake -> fen -> bog). However, the system has also been affected by other interlinked factors. Of interest, we note that external nutrient input (originating from dust deposition and climate processes) has had a negative effect on Sphagnum while favouring vascular plants, and increased fire activity (driven by allogenic and autogenic factors) typically caused post-fire, floristic wet shifts. These effects interactively caused a floristic reversal and near disappearance of a once-established Sphagnum community, during which climate acted as an indirect driver. Overall, this study highlights that the factors driving vegetation change within the peatland are multiple and complex. Consideration of the role of interlinked factors on Sphagnum is crucial for an improved understanding of the drivers of species change on short- and long-term scales.
  • Piilo, Sanna; Zhang, Hui; Garneau, Michelle; Gallego-Sala, Angela V.; Amesbury, Matthew; Väliranta, Minna (2019)
    Peatland ecosystems are important carbon sinks, but also release carbon back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. Peatlands therefore play an essential role in the global carbon cycle. However, the response of high-latitude peatlands to ongoing climate change is still not fully understood. In this study, we used plant macrofossils and peat property analyses as proxies to document changes in vegetation and peat and carbon accumulation after the Little Ice Age. Results from 12 peat monoliths collected in high-boreal and low-subarctic regions in northwestern Quebec, Canada, suggest high carbon accumulation rates for the recent past (post AD 1970s). Successional changes in plant assemblages were asynchronous within the cores in the southernmost region, but more consistent in the northern region. Average apparent recent carbon accumulation rates varied between 50.7 and 149.1 g C m(-2) yr(-1) with the northernmost study region showing higher values. The variation in vegetation records and peat properties found within samples taken from the same sites and amongst cores taken from different regions highlights the need to investigate multiple records from each peatland, but also from different peatlands within one region.
  • Amesbury, Matthew J.; Booth, Robert K.; Roland, Thomas P.; Bunbury, Joan; Clifford, Michael J.; Charman, Dan J.; Elliot, Suzanne; Finkelstein, Sarah; Garneau, Michelle; Hughes, Paul D. M.; Lamarre, Alexandre; Loisel, Julie; Mackay, Helen; Magnan, Gabriel; Markel, Erin R.; Mitchell, Edward A. D.; Payne, Richard J.; Pelletier, Nicolas; Roe, Helen; Sullivan, Maura E.; Swindles, Graeme T.; Talbot, Julie; van Bellen, Simon; Warner, Barry G. (2018)
    Fossil testate amoeba assemblages have been used to reconstruct peatland palaeohydrology for more than two decades. While transfer function training sets are typically of local-to regional-scale in extent, combining those data to cover broad ecohydrological gradients, from the regional-to continental- and hemispheric-scales, is useful to assess if ecological optima of species vary geographically and therefore may have also varied over time. Continental-scale transfer functions can also maximise modern analogue quality without losing reconstructive skill, providing the opportunity to contextualise understanding of purely statistical outputs with greater insight into the biogeography of organisms. Here, we compiled, at moderate taxonomic resolution, a dataset of nearly 2000 modern surface peatland testate amoeba samples from 137 peatlands throughout North America. We developed transfer functions using four model types, tested them statistically and applied them to independent palaeoenvironmental data. By subdividing the dataset into eco-regions, we examined biogeographical patterns of hydrological optima and species distribution across North America. We combined our new dataset with data from Europe to create a combined transfer function. The performance of our North-American transfer function was equivalent to published models and reconstructions were comparable to those developed using regional training sets. The new model can therefore be used as an effective tool to reconstruct peatland palaeohydrology throughout the North American continent. Some eco-regions exhibited lower taxonomic diversity and some key indicator taxa had restricted ranges. However, these patterns occurred against a background of general cosmopolitanism, at the moderate taxonomic resolution used. Likely biogeographical patterns at higher taxonomic resolution therefore do not affect transfer function performance. Output from the combined North American and European model suggested that any geographical limit of scale beyond which further compilation of peatland testate amoeba data would not be valid has not yet been reached, therefore advocating the potential for a Holarctic synthesis of peatland testate amoeba data. Extending data synthesis to the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere would be more challenging due to higher regional endemism in those areas. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.