An alternative approach to transfer functions? Testing the performance of a functional trait-based model for testate amoebae

Simon Van Bellen (Corresponding Author), Dimitri Mauquoy, Richard J. Payne, Thomas P. Roland, Paul D.M. Hughes, Tim J. Daley, Neil J. Loader, F. Alayne Street-Perrott, Emma M. Rice, Verónica A Pancotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Transfer functions are now widely available to infer past environmental conditions from biotic assemblages. Existing transfer functions are based on species assemblages but an alternative is to characterize assemblages based on functional traits, characteristics of the organism which determine its fitness and performance. Here, we test the potential of trait-based transfer functions using testate amoeba functional traits to reconstruct peatland water-table depths.

A total of seven functional traits with linkages to peat moisture content were identified and quantified as community weighted-means for each of 43 taxa in a training set from Tierra del Fuego, South America. Transfer functions based on multiple linear regression and partial least-squares were produced, validated using cross-validation and an independent test set, and applied to three core records. Trait-based models performed remarkably well. Model performance based on cross-validation and an independent test set was only marginally weaker than for models based on species and reconstructed down-core trends were extremely similar. Trait-based models offer considerable potential for paleoecological reconstruction particularly in no-analogue situations, where no species transfer function is available and for inexperienced analysts. The approach deserves further validation and testing for both testate amoebae and other groups of microfossils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalPalaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology
Volume468
Early online date12 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017

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Amoeba
transfer function
testing
microfossils
peatlands
peat
water table
least squares
microfossil
peatland
moisture content
water content
fitness
environmental factors
environmental conditions
organisms
test

Keywords

  • Ombrotrophic
  • validation
  • Patagonia
  • Holocene
  • sphagnum
  • peatland

Cite this

An alternative approach to transfer functions? Testing the performance of a functional trait-based model for testate amoebae. / Van Bellen, Simon (Corresponding Author); Mauquoy, Dimitri; Payne, Richard J.; Roland, Thomas P.; Hughes, Paul D.M.; Daley, Tim J.; Loader, Neil J.; Street-Perrott, F. Alayne; Rice, Emma M.; Pancotto, Verónica A.

In: Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Vol. 468, 15.02.2017, p. 173-183.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Van Bellen, S, Mauquoy, D, Payne, RJ, Roland, TP, Hughes, PDM, Daley, TJ, Loader, NJ, Street-Perrott, FA, Rice, EM & Pancotto, VA 2017, 'An alternative approach to transfer functions? Testing the performance of a functional trait-based model for testate amoebae', Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 468, pp. 173-183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.12.005
Van Bellen, Simon ; Mauquoy, Dimitri ; Payne, Richard J. ; Roland, Thomas P. ; Hughes, Paul D.M. ; Daley, Tim J. ; Loader, Neil J. ; Street-Perrott, F. Alayne ; Rice, Emma M. ; Pancotto, Verónica A. / An alternative approach to transfer functions? Testing the performance of a functional trait-based model for testate amoebae. In: Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology. 2017 ; Vol. 468. pp. 173-183.
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AU - Rice, Emma M.

AU - Pancotto, Verónica A

N1 - This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (grant numbers NE/I022809/1, NE/I022981/1, NE/I022833/1 and NE/I023104/1). RJP acknowledges support from the Russian Scientific Fund (grant 14-14-00891). We would like to thank Edward Mitchell, Graeme Swindles and an anonymous reviewer for reviewing an earlier draft of the paper.

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