Sphagnum δ13C values as indicators of palaeohydrological changes in a peat bog Academic Article uri icon


  • Late-Holocene peat stratigraphy of a Canadian boreal peat bog was examined to evaluate the potential of Sphagnum δ13C values as surface moisture proxy indicators. Isotopic measurements were compared to testate amoebae-inferred water-table depth reconstructions, plant macrofossil assemblages and past decomposition levels inferred by colorimetric humification. AMS radiocarbon dates were coupled with 210Pb dates to establish peat chronology. Although the mechanisms underlying carbon fractionation processes in peatlands are not well understood, we demonstrate that Sphagnum δ 13C values have potential for palaeohydrological reconstructions, since variations presented by the isotopic values can generally be correlated with the other proxy records, especially during drier episodes.

author list (cited authors)

  • Loisel, J., Garneau, M., & Hélie, J.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • November 2009