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Reconstruction of recent sea-level change using testate amoebae

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Dan J. Charman
School of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK
W. Roland Gehrels
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK
Clare Manning
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK
Charu Sharma
School of Marine Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK
E-mail address:


Proxy-based sea-level reconstructions place the instrumentally observed rates of recent sea-level rise in a longer term context by providing data that extend the instrumental sea-level record into past centuries. This paper presents the first sea-level reconstructions based on analyses of testate amoebae, to test their ability to produce high-precision reconstructions of past sea level. We present two reconstructions for the past 100"yr from sites in Maine (USA) and Nova Scotia (Canada) based on short cores from salt marshes, and modern training data from North America and the United Kingdom. These are compared with tide-gauge records and reconstructions based on foraminifera from the same cores. The reconstructions show good agreement with both the tide-gauge data and the foraminifera-based reconstructions. The UK data perform well in predicting known elevations of North American surface samples and produce sea-level reconstructions very similar to those based on the North American data, suggesting the methodology is robust across large geographical areas. We conclude that testate amoebae have the potential to provide robust, higher precision sea-level reconstructions for the past few centuries if modern transfer functions are improved and core sites are located within the main zone of testate amoebae occurrence on the salt marsh.

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University of Washington

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