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During the last decades, carbon stocks and dynamics of tropical peatlands have become a key issue in the field of climate change and carbon cycle studies. In my PhD thesis, I studied tropical peatlands located in the Amazon Basin. The key findings were that Amazonian floodplains harbour thick and extensive but previously largely unknown peatlands, which store a considerable carbon stock in the peat deposits and represent a large variability of different ecosystem types from very nutrient-rich minerotrophic peat swamps to extremely nutrient-poor ombrotrophic peat bogs. I also studied historic peat and carbon accumulation rates by determining radiocarbon age of peat from different depths.
In my current postdoctoral project, I am studying key ecosystem processes of Amazonian peatlands, including photosynthesis, net primary production (NPP), greenhouse gas emissions and decomposition. For this, I am applying methods of RAINFOR-GEM (http://gem.tropicalforests.ox.ac.uk/) in intensive monitoring plots located in three different Amazonian peatland sites in Peru in collaboration with a team of Peruvian students. The overall aim of the project is to understand the comprehensive carbon balance of Amazonian peatlands.
The Amazon Peatland Project of the Cadillo lab
Lähteenoja O, Flores B, Nelson B (2013) Tropical peat accumulation in Central Amazonia. Wetlands, 33, 495–503.
Lähteenoja O, Rojas Reátegui Y, Räsänen M, del Castillo Torres D, Oinonen M, Page S (2012) The large Amazonian peatland carbon sink in the subsiding Pastaza-Marañón foreland basin, Peru. Global Change Biology, 18(1), 164−178.
Lähteenoja O, Page S (2011) High diversity of tropical peatland ecosystem types in the Pastaza-Marañón basin, Peruvian Amazonia. Journal of Geophysical Research, Biogeosciences, 116, G02025.
Lähteenoja O, Ruokolainen K, Schulman L, Alvarez J (2009) Amazonian floodplains harbour minerotrophic and ombrotrophic peatlands. Catena, 79, 140–145.
Lähteenoja O, Ruokolainen K, Schulman L, Oinonen M (2009) Amazonian peatlands: an ignored C sink and potential source. Global Change Biology, 15, 2311–2320.
Wang S, Zhuang Q, Lähteenoja O, Draper FC, Cadillo-Quiroz H (2018) Potential shift from a carbon sink to a source in Amazonian peatlands under a changing climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(49), 12407-12412.
Naafs BDA, Rohrssen M, Inglis GN, Lähteenoja O, Feakins SJ, Collinson ME, Kennedy EM, Singh PK, Singh MP, Lunt DJ, Pancost RD, the T-GRES peat database collaborators (2018) High temperatures in the terrestrial mid-latitudes during the early Paleogene. Nature Geoscience 11(10), 766.
Swindles GT, Morris PJ, Whitney B, Galloway JM, Gałka M, Gallego-Sala A, Macumber AL, Mullan D, Smith MW, Amesbury MJ, Roland TP, Sanei H, Patterson RT, Sanderson N, Parry L, Charman DJ, Lopez O, Valderamma E, Watson EJ, Ivanovic RF, Valdes PJ, Turner TE, Lähteenoja O (2018) Ecosystem state shifts during long-term development of an Amazonian peatland. Global Change Biology, 24, 738-757.
Roucoux KH, Lawson IT, Baker TR, Del Castillo Torres D, Draper FC, Lähteenoja O, Gilmore MP, Honorio Coronado EN, Kelly TJ, Mitchard ETA, Vriesendorp CF (2017), Threats to intact tropical peatlands and opportunities for their conservation. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12925
Naafs BDA, Inglis GN, Zheng Y, Amesbury MJ, Biester H, Bindler R, Blewett J, Burrows MA, del Castillo Torres D, Chambers FM, Cohen AD, Evershed RP, Feakins SJ, Gallego-Sala A, Gandois L, Gray DM, Hatcher PG, Honorio Coronado EN, Hughes PDM, Huguet A, Könönen M, Laggoun-Défarge F, Lähteenoja O, Marchant R, McClymont E, Pontevedra-Pombal X, Ponton C, Pourmand A, Rizzuti AM, Rochefort L, Schellekens J, De Vleeschouwer F, Pancost RD (2017) Introducing global peat-specific temperature and pH calibrations based on brGDGT bacterial lipids. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 208, 285-301.
Tuomisto H, Ruokolainen K, Vormisto J, Duque A, Sánchez M, Vargas Paredes V, Lähteenoja O (2016) Effect of sampling grain on patterns of species richness and turnover in Amazonian forests. Ecography, 39, 1-13.
Draper FC, Roucoux KH, Lawson IT, Mitchard ETA, Honorio Coronado EN, Lähteenoja O, Torres Montenegro L, Valderrama Sandoval E, Zaráte R, Baker TR (2014) The distribution and amount of carbon in the largest peatland complex in Amazonia. Environmental Research Letters, 9, 124017.
Roucoux KH, Lawson IT, Jones TD, Baker TR, Honorio Coronado EN, Gosling WD, Lähteenoja O (2013) Vegetation development in an Amazonian peatland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 242–255.
Householder JE, Janovec JP, Tobler MW, Page S, Lähteenoja O (2012) Peatlands of the Madre de Dios River of Peru: distribution, geomorphology, and habitat diversity. Wetlands, 32, 359–368.
Vannini M, Rorandelli R, Lähteenoja O, Mrabu E, Fratini S (2006) Tree-climbing behaviour of Cerithidea decollata, a western Indian Ocean mangrove gastropod (Mollusca: Potamididae). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 86(6), 1429–1436.