Seminar - Peatlands and environmental change: From the Amazon to the Arctic


Dr. Graeme Swindles  

School of Geography, 
University of Leeds  


Dr. Graeme Swindles


Tuesday, May 31st
3 p.m.  

3120 HP 
Carleton University



Peatlands represent globally-important carbon stores, potentially vulnerable habitats, and archives of palaeoenvironmental information (Morris et al., 2015; Swindles et al., 2012, 2015, 2016, in press). There is growing concern over the stability of peatland carbon stores and ecosystem services in response to climate change, wildfire, resource exploitation and conversion for agriculture. I will present palaeoecological research from subarctic permafrost peatlands and a forested peatland in Peruvian Amazonia to illustrate the effects of past climate change on the hydrology, ecology and carbon dynamics of these ecosystems. These studies demonstrates the importance of palaeoecology for understanding the trajectories of peatland development and ecosystem dynamics, including their resilience to climate change.



Dr. Graeme Swindles is an Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics in the School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. He has broad research interests in Earth System Science and worsk on topics concerning both past and present-day environmental change. His work crosses the disciplines of ecology, palaeoecology and geology. Major research foci include: (i) the long-term ecohydrological dynamics and functioning of temperate, tropical and arctic peatlands; (ii) the use of testate amoebae as environmental indicators in peatlands and lakes; (iii)  high-resolution dating methods including tephrochronology; (iv) the critical examination of past human response and adaptation to climate change using palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data; (v) the use of palaeoenvironmental data and probability modelling in geohazards research. (vi) the use of quantitative reconstruction and statistical modelling techniques for understanding long-term climatic and environmental change.


Swindles, G.T., Morris, P.J., Baird, A.J., Blaauw, M. and Plunkett, G. 2012. Ecohydrological feedbacks confound peat-based climate reconstructionsGeophysical Research Letters 39, L11401.

Morris, P.J., Baird, A.J., Young, D.M. and Swindles, G.T. 2015. Untangling climate signals from autogenic changes in long-term peatland development. Geophysical Research Letters 42, 10, 788-797.

Swindles, G.T., Morris, P.J., Mullan, D., Watson, E.J., Turner, T.E., Roland, T., Amesbury, M.J., Kokfelt, U., Schoning, K., Pratte, S., Gallego-Sala, A., Charman, D.J., Sanderson, N., Garneau, M., Carrivick, J.L., Woulds, C., Holden, J., Parry, L. and Galloway, J.M. 2015. The long-term fate of permafrost peatlands under rapid climate warmingNature Scientific Reports 5, 17951.

Swindles, G.T., Morris, P.J., Wheeler, J., Smith, M., Bacon, K.L., Turner, T.E., Headley, A. and Galloway, J.M. 2016. Resilience of peatland ecosystem services over millennial timescales: evidence from a degraded British bogJournal of Ecology 104, 621-636.

Swindles, G.T., Lamentowicz, M., Reczuga, M., Galloway, J.M. In Press. Palaeoecology of testate amoebae in a tropical peatlandEuropean Journal of Protistology.