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Use of testate amoebae to infer paleohydrology during fen and fen-bog transition stages of ombrotrophic mire development

Abstract

We evaluated the feasibility of using testate amoebae to infer the quantitative paleohydrology of ombrotrophic mires during their early stages (fen and fen-bog transition) of development. Two transfer functions, one derived from ombrotrophic and the other from minerotrophic mires, were applied to a peat core from an ombrotrophic mire in a taiga region of west Siberia. An ombrotrophic transfer function was applied to the bog stage of mire development. In contrast, ombrotrophic and minerotrophic transfer functions were applied independently to infer water table depth in the fen and fen-bog transition stages. Results of the two approaches for calculating water table depth during the fen and fen-bog transition stages differed by as much as 38 cm for the same peat sample. The main reason for this discrepancy is presence of testate amoeba taxa (e.g. Centropyxis aculeata, Cyclopyxis eurystoma, Cyclopyxis eurystoma v. parvula) in the peat that inhabit both modern ombrotrophic and minerotrophic mires, but differ substantially, in cases by > 20 cm, in terms of their water table depth optima in the ombrotrophic and minerotrophic mire calibration data sets. This difference in inferred water table depth also stems, to a lesser degree, from the fact that the ombrotrophic mire model does not include taxa that inhabited exclusively minerotrophic mires in the fen and fen-bog transition stages. Given these findings, we propose that different models be used for different stages of development, to reconstruct past water table depth in ombrotrophic mires. We recommend use of a model based solely on the ombrotrophic mire data set for the bog stage, and application of a second model based on the minerotrophic mire data set, for the fen and fen-bog transition stages. Application of an ombrotrophic model to the early stages of bog development can yield erroneous paleohydrological reconstructions.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant No. 16-34-60057). We thank Anatoly Bobrov for assistance with identification of some testate amoeba taxa.

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Correspondence to Irina V. Kurina.

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Kurina, I.V., Li, H. & Barashkov, D.R. Use of testate amoebae to infer paleohydrology during fen and fen-bog transition stages of ombrotrophic mire development. J Paleolimnol 63, 147–158 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-019-00107-y

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Keywords

  • Transfer function
  • Bog
  • Ombrotrophic
  • Minerotrophic
  • Testate amoebae