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Browsing by Subject "permafrost"

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  • Latsa, Ilona (2020)
    Northern peatlands have a major role in the global carbon cycle due to their carbon stocks and fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Anthropogenic climate change may affect peatland carbon dynamics through changes in e.g. primary production, hydrology, and permafrost dynamics. It is uncertain whether these changes will lead to northern peatlands becoming significant sources of carbon to the atmosphere. Changes in moisture conditions especially can be an important factor in determining the carbon sink potential of northern peatlands. In this thesis I examine the palaeohydrology and peat accumulation over the past centuries in a permafrost peatland complex in Lovozero, Kola Peninsula, Russia. I used testate amoebae as a proxy of past changes in moisture conditions. Other study methods used here are detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and 14C and 210Pb dating. The results were also supplemented with plant macrofossil and carbon accumulation data provided by other members of the research team. The results show varying responses of the peatland hydrology and peat accumulation to the past climatic shifts, suggesting that the changes have been driven more by autogenic factors rather than climate. However, all three sites indicated a drying trend and an increased peat accumulation for the last century. Yet, the last decade is charachterised by a wet shift. The wet shifts suggest that the peatlands may have crossed a threshold where increased evapotranspiration is exceeded by increased moisture due to thawing permfrost. The surface peat layers of all three sites were dominated by mixotrophic testate amoebae, which may have contributed to the high peat accumulation. The inconsistency of past successional pathways identified at Lovozero peatlands and the drying trend over the past century correspond to the previous studies from northern peatlands elsewhere. However, the most recent surface wetting during the last decade differs from what has been reported for the other northern sites. This suggests that the response mechanisms of peatlands to the anthropogenic climate change may not be uniform. Thus, further research is inevitably needed to increase our understanding of peatland-climate intercations.