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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Erin McClymont

Charman, D. J., Blundell, A., ACCROTELM Members & (ELM as ACCROTELM Member) (2006). A pan-European testate amoebae transfer function for palaeohydrological reconstruction on ombrotrophic peatlands. Journal of Quaternary Science 22: 209-221.

Author(s) from Durham


Proxy climate data can be obtained from reconstructions of hydrological changes on ombrotrophic (rain-fed) peatlands using biological indicators, such as testate amoebae. Reconstructions are based on transfer functions, relating modern assemblage composition to water table and moisture content, applied to fossil sequences. Existing transfer functions in Europe and elsewhere are limited geographically and there are often problems with missing or poor analogues. This paper presents a new palaeohydrological transfer function based on sampling raised mires from across Europe. Relationships between assemblages and hydrological variables are described using ordination analyses. Transfer functions are developed for depth to water table (n = 119) and moisture content (n = 132) with root mean squared errors (RMSEP) of 5.6 cm and 2.7% respectively. Both transfer functions have an r2 of 0.71, based on ‘leave one out’ cross-validation. Comparisons with an existing transfer function for Britain show that the European transfer function performs well in inferring measured water tables in Britain but that the British data cannot be used to infer water tables for other European sites with confidence. Several of the key missing and poor analogue taxa problems encountered in previous transfer functions are solved. The new transfer function will be an important tool in developing peat-based palaeoclimatic reconstructions for European sites.