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Ecology of testate amoebae and their potential use as palaeohydrologic indicators from peatland in Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China

Song, Lihong, Li, Hongkai, Wang, Kehong, Wu, Donghui, Wu, Haitao
Frontiers of earth science 2014 v.8 no.4 pp. 564-572
Amoeba, ecosystems, environmental indicators, freshwater, least squares, models, pH, peatlands, variance, water table, China, Europe, North America
Testate amoebae are sensitive indicators of substrate moisture in peatlands. Over the last decades, they have been studied to reconstruct hydrological changes since the Holocene. However, these studies have been geographically restricted to North America and Europe. We conducted the first investigation of testate amoebae on the largest continental fresh water wetland in the Sanjiang Plain, China. The objectives of this study were to provide baseline data on the ecology of testate amoebae in the peatlands of Northeast China and to assess the potential of using them as environmental indicators in this ecosystem. We examined modern testate amoeba assemblages and species-environmental relationships at 46 microsites within 5 waterlogged depressions. The environmental parameters measured included: depth to water table, pH, and loss on ignition. The results showed that the dominant species were Trinema complanatum type, Euglypha rotunda type, Euglypha strigosa type, and Centropyxis cassis type. Redundancy analysis demonstrates that water table depth has the most important effect on testate amoeba assemblages, explaining 16.7% (p = 0.002) of the total variance. pH was not a statistically significant factor for testate amoeba assemblages. Weighted averaging and weighted averaging partial least squares models were used to build transfer functions for depth to water table. The best performing transfer function was generated by the weighted averaging partial least squares model with an r²LOSOof 0.62 and RMSEPLOSOof 6.96 cm. Results indicate that testate amoebae in waterlogged depression peatland have the potential to be used as indicators for hydrological changes and for palaeohydrologic reconstructions in the Sanjiang Plain.