Long-Term Hydrological Reconstruction From a Beaver Meadow
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Beaver ponds contribute 0.8-1.0 million tons of atmospheric methane (CH4) emissions per year globally (Whitfield et al., 2014; Wik et al., 2016) and are found to be the largest CH4 emitters among all the wetland types in boreal environments (Roulet et al., 1992). However, the sources and underlying mechanisms of carbon emission in beaver ponds require further elucidation. I have reconstructed the historical development of a beaver meadow located in the Sibbald Research Wetland in the Rocky Mountains of Kananaskis Provincial (Ollennu) Park, Alberta, Canada. I used a combination of testate amoebae, plant macrofossils, and other geochemical proxies to provide high-resolution reconstructions along three peat cores extracted in hydrologically distinct portions of the meadow. To my knowledge, this is the first achievement at reconstructing long term hydrological conditions in these systems. In addition to providing a unique ecological reconstruction for this site, my project outlines any hydrological changes in the meadow as well as changes in nutrient input, which I tentatively used as proxies for past beaver activity.
Von Ness, Kate (2019). Long-Term Hydrological Reconstruction From a Beaver Meadow. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from