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  • Zhang, Hui; Väliranta, Minna; Amesbury, Matthew J.; Charman, D. J.; Laine, Anna; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina (2018)
    It is well established that in ombrotrophic bogs, water-table depth (WTD) is the primary environmental control on testate amoeba distribution. However, the environmental controls on testate amoebae in minerotrophic fens are less well known and successional change in their assemblages associated with fen-bog peatland development has been scarcely investigated. Here we investigate a peatland space-for-time sequence resulting from postglacial rebound on the west coast of Finland, to assess successional patterns in testate amoeba communities and their relationships with environmental variables during peatland development. Sample sites along a 10-km transect from coast to inland ranged from a recently emerged wet meadow to a mature bog. Environmental variables (e.g., peat thickness, carbon and nitrogen content, pH, WTD and vegetation) were measured alongside testate amoeba samples. Results showed that even though the distribution of testate amoebae was to some extent determined by the succession stage, many taxa had wide WTD and pH ranges. The primary environmental control for many taxa changed along the succession. In conclusion, the ecological constraints on testate amoebae in minerotrophic systems are more complex than in bogs. The detected patterns also complicate the use of testate amoebae as a primary proxy in palaeoecological reconstructions where fen-to-bog shifts occur. (C) 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
  • 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.