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School of Geography

EGC Projects

Palaeohydrological records from ombrotrophic peatlands in Peruvian Amazonia

PI: Dr Graeme Swindles (University of Leeds)

Co-I: Dr Katy Roucoux (University of Leeds)

Overview: In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in 100 years. These droughts, coupled with the effects of regional deforestation, are pushing the rainforest towards a ‘tipping point’. These drought events are currently put into a longer-term context through tree ring archives, although these only span the last ~150 years. Testate amoebae preserved in peat, which accumulated over thousands of years, offers the opportunity to examine hydrological changes over a much longer period and examine the effects of past climate change on vegetation through comparisons with pollen data. Previous work has shown that testate amoebae can be used to generate quantitative palaeohydrological records from peatlands in the mid-high latitudes. This pioneering research project represents the first time this methodology has been applied to peatlands in the tropics and complements ongoing research examining drought events in Amazonia and their effects on trajectories of forest biomass change.

Start Date: 01/05/2011

End Date: 30/04/2012

Funder: The Royal Society

Grant Reference: 2010/R2

Details: Contact g.t.swindles(at)