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

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2021

Marissa A. Davies
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, 22 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3B1, Canada
Jerome Blewett
Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, School of Earth Sciences, and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol, BS8 1TS, United Kingdom
B. David A. Naafs
Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, School of Earth Sciences, and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol, BS8 1TS, United Kingdom
Sarah A. Finkelstein*
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, 22 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3B1, Canada
*Corresponding author email (S.A. Finkelstein).


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 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.

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

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