The methodological basis for fine-resolution, multi-proxy reconstructions of ombrotrophic peat bog surface wetness

Amesbury, Matthew J., Barber , Keith E. and Hughes, Paul D.M. (2010) The methodological basis for fine-resolution, multi-proxy reconstructions of ombrotrophic peat bog surface wetness. Boreas, 40, (1), 161-174. (doi:10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00152.x).


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The need for Holocene peat-based palaeoclimatic records of increased temporal resolution has been widely identified in recent research. The often rapid growth rates of ombrotrophic bogs, when combined with fine-resolution (i.e. millimetre-scale) sampling, provide an as yet largely unexploited potential to derive sub-decadal palaeoclimatic data from this proxy-archive. However, multi-proxy, fine-resolution analyses require changes to standard methodologies, and the application of sampling techniques that are new to peat-based palaeoclimate research. A peat sampler was custom-built to allow precise and replicable millimetre-scale subsampling. Subsequent methodological testing revealed that, irrespective of sample thickness (i.e. resolution), halving the standard sample volume used for plant macrofossil (from 4 cm3 to 2 cm3) and testate amoebae (from 2 cm3 to 1 cm3) analyses and the sample weight used for peat humification analysis (from 0.2 g to 0.1 g dried peat) did not affect the interpretation of the results. A contiguous 1-mm sampling resolution for plant macrofossil analysis was also tested, but it was found that contiguous 5-mm samples provided a more reliable background record to fine-resolution testate amoebae and peat humification analyses. Based on these findings, a standardized and systematic methodological approach was developed, using the custom-built peat slicer to take millimetre-scale samples that provide enough sample material for both testate amoebae and peat humification analyses to be performed at 1-mm resolution. This approach will facilitate the testing of the palaeoclimatic reliability of multi-proxy, fine-resolution peat-based records.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00152.x
ISSNs: 0300-9483 (print)
1502-3885 (electronic)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 151871
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
23 April 2010Published
Date Deposited: 12 May 2010 14:44
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:24

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