Reassessing the vertical distribution of testate amoebae communities in acrotelmic peats in eastern Canada

Suzanne Elliott, Helen Roe, Tim Patterson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Testate amoebae-derived transfer functions are frequently used in peatland palaeohydrological studies and involve the development of training sets from surficial peats.  However, within acrotelmic peats, considerable vertical variation in assemblage composition can occur, particularly along Sphagnum stems, which may limit the representation of the associated ‘contemporary’ testate amoebae samples as analogues for the peatland surface.  We present contiguous testate amoebae assemblage data from nine monoliths collected from different peatland microforms (hummock, hollow, lawn) in three Sphagnum-dominated ombrotrophic peatlands in eastern Canada (Mer Bleue Bog and Alfred Bog, Ontario and Mirabel Bog, Quebec).  The aim is to: i) gain a greater understanding of the vertical distribution of xerophilous/hygrophilous taxa along Sphagnum stems; ii) determine the vertical extent of live/encysted taxa along this gradient; and iii) assess the significance of the species-environment relationship on surface sampling protocols.  The results show that testate amoeba communities in the uppermost acrotelmic peat layers show considerable variability, which may reflect a complex interplay of abiotic and biotic controls including moisture and temperature characteristics, and food and mineral particle availability for test construction.  These findings underline the complexity of testate amoeba assemblage structure and highlight the importance of sampling at high resolution to include samples from living and dead Sphagnum stems.


Conference9th International Symposium on Testate Amoebae: Recent Advances and Future Research Priorities
Abbreviated titleISTA9
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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