Testate amoebae-environment relationships and a hydrological transfer function from mires in the Central Rhodope Mountains, Greece
Testate amoebae are useful environmental indicators in ecological and palaeoecological studies from peatlands. Previous quantitative studies have focused on the Sphagnum-dominated peatlands of Northern and Central Europe, North America, and New-Zealand while other types of peatlands and other regions have been little studied Here we present the first quantitative ecological study of testate amoebae from mires in northern Greece. Testate amoebae were extracted from 61 samples taken from four small mires in the Elatia Forest, northern Macedonia. Relationships with the environmental data were investigated using redundancy analysis and mantel tests. Transfer function models were derived using a variety of techniques. Results demonstrate that as in bogs, hydrology is the most important control on amoebae community composition. Transfer function models enable water tables to be predicted within 2.5cm, when data selection is used this is reduced to less than 2cm. pH is also an important environmental control on testate amoebae communities, a transfer function model enables pH prediction within 0.4 pH units. The hydrological transfer function is the best performing such model yet produced. This transfer function will allow quantitative palaeohydrological reconstruction from these mires.