Ecohydrological controls on apparent rates of peat carbon accumulation in a boreal bog record from the Hudson Bay Lowlands, northern Ontario, Canada

Marissa A. Davies, Jerome Blewett, B D A Naafs, Sarah A. Finkelstein

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A multiproxy Holocene record from a bog in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, northern Ontario, Canada, was used to evaluate how ecohydrology relates to carbon accumulation. The study site is located at a somewhat higher elevation and on coarser grained deposits than the surrounding peatlands. This promotes better drainage and thus a slower rate of carbon accumulation relative to sites with similar initiation age. The rate of peat vertical accretion was initially low as the site transitioned from a marsh to a rich fen. These lower rates took place during the warmer temperatures of the Holocene thermal maximum, confirming the importance of hydrological 2 controls limiting peat accretion at the local scale. Testate amoebae, pollen, and plant macrofossils indicate a transition to a poor fen and then a bog during the late Holocene, as the carbon accumulation rate and reconstructed water table depth increased. The bacterial membrane lipid biomarker indices used to infer paleotemperature show a summer temperature bias and appear sensitive to changes in peat type. The bacterial membrane lipid biomarker pH proxy indicates a rich to a poor fen and a subsequent fen to bog transition, which are supported by pollen, macrofossil, and testate amoeba records.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary Research
Early online date29 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and support from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to S. Finkelstein, and a NSERC postgraduate scholarship (NSERC PGS-D) and Canadian Quaternary Association (CANQUA) Alexis Dreimanis Award to M. Davies. J. Blewett is supported by a NERC GW4+ doctoral training partnership studentship from the Natural Environment Research Council (NE/L002434/1) and is thankful for the support and additional funding from CASE partner Elementar UK Ltd. B.D.A. Naafs acknowledges funding through the Royal Society Tata University Research Fellowship. NERC (Reference: CC010) and NEIF ( ) are thanked for funding and maintenance of the LC-MS instrument used for this work.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2021.


  • Peatland
  • Paleoecology
  • Carbon accumulation
  • Pollen
  • Macrofossils
  • Testate amoebae
  • Biomarkers
  • brGDGTs
  • Holocene


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