Testate amoebae are unicellular micro-organisms whose hydrological sensitivity and good preservation in peats make them valuable proxies for past peatland surface wetness, and therefore climate. Previous testate amoebae transfer functions have been spatially restricted with no studies from Asia. To derive a transfer function, a sequence of samples was extracted from an ombrotrophic peatland in Turkey and amoebae counted. The internal structure of the data was explored using principal components analysis and relationships with the environmental data tested by redundancy analyses. Transfer function models were developed using a variety of techniques. As in other regions, depth to water table is the most important control on amoebae community composition. Transfer function performance was initially poor, primarily due to the inclusion of samples from areas of the site that had been heavily affected by peat cutting and had distinctly different amoebae communities. Model performance is improved by selective sample exclusion, reducing jack-knifed root mean square error of prediction to 7.1 cm. The model was tested using an initial palaeoecological data-set. Overlap with the training set was limited, although a hydrological reconstruction using this model produces similar results to a transfer function derived from northern European peatlands. This study provides the first testate amoebae transfer function from Asia and demonstrates that hydrological preferences of many of the key taxa are consistent across a large area of the Northern Hemisphere. The transfer function will allow detailed palaeoclimate reconstruction from this peatland, adding to our knowledge of Holocene climatic change in southwest Asia.
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Vol. 28 • No. 2