Developing a continental-scale testate amoeba hydrological transfer function for Asian peatlands

Yangmin Qin*, Hongkai Li, Yuri Mazei, Irina Kurina, Graeme T. Swindles, Anatoly Bobrov, Andrey N. Tsyganov, Yansheng Gu, Xianyu Huang, Jiantao Xue, Mariusz Lamentowicz, Katarzyna Marcisz, Thomas Roland, Richard J. Payne, Edward A.D. Mitchell, Shucheng Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Testate amoebae (TA) are a common and diverse group of protists and are especially abundant in peatlands. The structure of peatland TA communities is well correlated to surface moisture and water table depth (WTD). For that reason, TA are widely used as proxy indicators in ecological and palaeoecological studies. Peatlands are abundant across Asia, but the diversity and ecology of the TA that inhabit these systems are poorly documented. It is therefore unclear whether TA can be used as palaeohydrological indicators in the manner in which they commonly are in Europe and North-America. There is particular uncertainty as to the efficacy of this approach in the lower latitudes. We compiled existing and new data on testate amoebae from 1124 Sphagnum-dominated samples from 42 individual peatlands covering broad latitudinal (25°–66° N) and longitudinal (68°–129° E) ranges. Using a consensus taxonomic framework, we built a checklist of TA and developed TA-based hydrological transfer functions for Asian peatlands. The results showed that three models, weighted averaging (WA), weighted average partial least squares (WA-PLS), and maximum likelihood (ML), predicted similar WTD values for full samples, while the modern analogue technique (MAT) produced the strongest (R2boot = 0.58) relationship between observed and estimated water-table depths (WTDs). Removing outlier samples improved the R2 values of observed vs. estimated WTDs, with ML then demonstrating the strongest predictive power (R2boot = 0.68, RMSEPboot = 8.98 cm). The predictive capability of the developed WTD transfer function is comparable to equivalent models for Europe and North America and thus can be used for palaeohydrological reconstructions for boreal to subtropical peatlands in Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106868
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date19 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021


  • Asia
  • Consensus taxonomy
  • Dataset harmonisation
  • Palaeoecology
  • Palaeohydrology
  • Testate amoebae
  • Water table depth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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