A total of seven functional traits with linkages to peat moisture content were identified and quantified as community weighted-means for each of 43 taxa in a training set from Tierra del Fuego, South America. Transfer functions based on multiple linear regression and partial least-squares were produced, validated using cross-validation and an independent test set, and applied to three core records. Trait-based models performed remarkably well. Model performance based on cross-validation and an independent test set was only marginally weaker than for models based on species and reconstructed down-core trends were extremely similar. Trait-based models offer considerable potential for paleoecological reconstruction particularly in no-analogue situations, where no species transfer function is available and for inexperienced analysts. The approach deserves further validation and testing for both testate amoebae and other groups of microfossils.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (grant numbers NE/I022809/1, NE/I022981/1, NE/I022833/1 and NE/I023104/1). RJP acknowledges support from the Russian Scientific Fund (grant 14-14-00891). We would like to thank Edward Mitchell, Graeme Swindles and an anonymous reviewer for reviewing an earlier draft of the paper.