A near-annual palaeohydrological study based on testate amoebae from a sub-alpine mire: surface wetness and the role of climate during the instrumental period

Authors

  • Mariusz Lamentowicz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biogeography and Palaeoecology, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
    2. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Ecosystem Boundaries Research Unit, Wetlands Research Group, Lausanne, Switzerland
    3. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Laboratoire des Systèmes écologiques, Lausanne, Switzerland
    4. Laboratory of Soil Biology, Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
    • Department of Biogeography and Palaeoecology, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Dzięgielowa 27, PL–61–680 Poznań, Poland.
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  • Willem Van Der Knaap,

    1. Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
    2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Łukasz Lamentowicz,

    1. Department of Hydrobiology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
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  • Jacqueline F. N. Van Leeuwen,

    1. Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
    2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Edward A. D. Mitchell,

    1. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Ecosystem Boundaries Research Unit, Wetlands Research Group, Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Laboratoire des Systèmes écologiques, Lausanne, Switzerland
    3. Laboratory of Soil Biology, Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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  • Tomasz Goslar,

    1. Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
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  • Christian Kamenik

    1. Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
    2. Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland
    3. Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Lamentowicz, M., Van Der Knaap, W., Lamentowicz, Ł., Van Leeuwen, J. F. N., Mitchell, E. A. D., Goslar, T. and Kamenik, C. 2010. A near-annual palaeohydrological study based on testate amoebae from a sub-alpine mire: surface wetness and the role of climate during the instrumental period. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 25 pp. 190–202. ISSN 0267-8179.

Abstract

We present the first testate amoeba-based palaeohydrological reconstruction from the Swiss Alps, and the first depth to the water table (DWT) calibration dataset for this region. Compared to existing models, our new calibration dataset performs well (RMSEP = 4.88), despite the length of the water table gradient covered (53 cm). The present-day topography and vegetation of the study mire Mauntschas suggest that it is partly ombrotrophic (large Sphagnum fuscum hummocks, one of which was the coring site) but mostly under the minerotrophic influence of springs in the mire and runoff from the surrounding area. Ombrotrophic Sphagnum fuscum hummocks developed at the sampling site only during the last 50 years, when testate amoebae indicate a shift towards dry and/or acid conditions. Prior to AD 1950 the water table was much higher, suggesting that the influence of the mineral-rich water prevented the development of ombrotrophic hummocks. The reconstructed DWT correlated with Pinus cembra pollen accumulation rates, suggesting that testate amoebae living on the mire and P. cembra growing outside of it partly respond to the same factor(s). Finally, temperature trends from the nearby meteorological station paralleled trends in reconstructed DWT. However, contrary to other studies made on raised bogs of northwestern Europe, the highest correlation was observed for winter temperature, despite the fact that testate amoebae would more logically respond to moisture conditions during the growing season. The observed correlation with winter temperature might reflect a control of winter severity on surface moisture during at least the first part of the growing season, through snow melt and soil frost phenomena influencing run-off. More ecohydrological work on sub-alpine mires is needed to understand the relationships between climate, testate amoebae and peatland development. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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