Study with litterbags showing that some species and parts (capitulum, lower stem+branches) of Sphagnum decay more rapidly than others, and that all decay more rapidly when placed near the surface than when placed below the watertable. Also shows that the layer of detectable sulphide moves up and down with the watertable. Lays the foundation for later work on acrotelm and catotelm processes, and on how they can lead to carbon sequestration.
Written for a symposium the Proceedings of which I later helped to edit. First attempt at treating cation exchange as a quantitative physical chemical process.
( 6) Clymo RS (1967). Control of cation concentrations, and in particular of pH in Sphagnum-dominated communities. Chemical Environment in the Aquatic Habitat. Eds Golterman HL and Clymo RS. Amsterdam, North Holland: 273-284.
Article (6) above had shown that one needs to know the growth rate of Sphagnum in order to account for or predict the pH of bog water. This article (10) describes and tests several methods for measuring growth in the field.
Work for the IBP (International Biological Programme) as part of a carbon balance sheet for the blanket bog at Moor House.
The book sumarises the International Biological Programme work in the upland UK. The article was commissioned and was my first attempt at a non-trivial simulation of several simultaneous processes, with a crude attempt at fitting to get seven parameter values. Goodish fits but not much understanding.
A comparison of several numeric methods for ordinating the vegetation on a small peat bog. Includes an early example of the use on vegetation of NPMDS (non-parametric multi-dimenional scaling - a beautiful technique making big demands, for that time, on computing time and store). The data were collected on one of their annual excursions by the lightly organised Mires Research Group, later formalised within the British Ecological Society. It was near the end of the time when such voluntary excursions could be financed from the ordinary departmental grant.
A longish review. More frequently quoted than read.
This was an attempt to show the consequences of simple assumptions about peat growth. These assumptions of constant rate of addition and constant rate of decay are (I thought) clearly unrealistic, but I didn't make that clear enough and this article has been widely cited as incorporating my settled views as a preliminary to using it as an Aunt Sally. The serious error is that these over-simple assumptions lead to the conclusion that there is an upper limit to the depth of peat. That is WRONG, as I later showed in article (43). The article (25) represents one extreme of modelling in which the equations are analytical solutions, from which understanding may flow. Nowadays many (most?) peatlnd models are complex simulations attempting to be as realistic as practicable, but from which understanding is not easily distilled.
Commissioned for a Royal Society meeting on 'Ecological Effects of Deposited Sulphur and Nitrogen Compounds'. Most of the meeting was about the 'acid rain' problem. My part was to show that peatlands were naturally acid, and that the extra contribution from acid rain was relatively small.
My colleague worked at the British Antarctic Survey and had visited Beauchêne Island, some 70 miles south of the Falkland Islands. There he discovered the whole island covered by about 15 m of peat formed from almost pure Poa flabellata peat, with massive inputs of N and P from enormous sea bird colonies. He collected samples of the peat cut from an eroded cliff-like edge on the coast. The basal peat resembled coal and broke with a conchoidal fracture. Particularly instructive as showing peat accumulation without strongly anoxic conditions and in conditions not suitable for any of the normal peat forming plants. For some years I tried to get myself (and some equipment) to the island, but the logistics at that time were impossible.
A shortish commisioned article for an audience more general than the one I usually wrote for.
Another commissioned contribution, for a meeting of coal geologists. I suggested, amongst other things, that the chnages in peat might be partly a consequence of very slow chemical changes, unmediated by micro-organisms. I have never seen this possibility considere3d anywhere else, and know of no good evidence for or against it.
Getting near-undisturbed cores from the surface of a peat bog is not always easy, and may be near-impossible in fluid peat. This equipment was used to get cores, 30 cm diameter and 50 cm deep, from the surface of many sorts of peat bog.
The summary meeting at the Royal Society for the Palaeolimnology and Lake Acidification programme. It was during this work that I discovered Ellergower Moss, on which I did most of my work from 1989 onwards.
Part of a festschrift for Professor Herb Wright.
When 'acid rain' was a hot topic the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board), who were thought at the time to be the major producers of atmospheric acids falling on Britain, set up a large experiment at Loch Fleet to test the possibility of restoring a recently acidified lake. The main treatment was to spread large amounts of ground limestone, brought in by helicopter, on the catchment much of which was Sphagnum-covered. The procedure was effective in restoring trout to the lake after several years, but for Sphagnum the treatment was lethal.
(41) Clymo RS, Foster GN, MacKay J, Robertson J, Shore R, Skidmore DI. (1992). Terrestrial biology in limed catchments. Restoring Acid Waters: Loch Fleet 1984 - 1990. Eds. G. Howells and T. R. K. Dalziel. London and New York, Elsevier Applied Science: 331-361.
Commisioned for a symposium held in Dundee
(42) Clymo RS (1992). Productivity and decomposition of peatland ecosystems. Peatland Ecosystems and Man: An Impact Assessment. Eds Bragg OM, Hulme PD, Ingram HAP, Robertson RA. Dundee, University of Dundee: 3-16.
Commissioned for a meeting in Finland. A sequel to (25) showing that with the more realistic assumption that the rate of decay declines with age, there is no limit to peat bog growth: the bog gets continuously deeper but at a continuously declining rate. The journal Suo is produced by the Finnish Peat Society.
I contributed very little to this and am surprised that my name is on it.
(45) Tolonen K, Vasander H, Damman AWH, Clymo RS (1992). Rate of apparent and true carbon accumulation in Boreal peatlands. 9th International Peat Congress, Uppsala, Sweden, International Peat Society.
Very similar to (45) above. I contributed no more to this than to (45), and am surprised that my name is on it..
I saw the data presented at a meeting but with no analysis and suggested writing this article to the first author.
When 'acid rain' was a hot topic the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board), who were thought at the time to be the major producers of atmospheric acids falling on Britain, set up a large experiment at Loch Fleet to test the possibility of restoring a recently acidified lake. The main treatment was to spread large amounts of ground limestone, brought in by helicopter, on the catchment much of which was Sphagnum-covered. The procedure was effective in restoring trout to the lake after several years, but for Sphagnum the treatment was lethal. Article (41) is a general account of the biology of the limed area; this article (47) is more specifically about Sphagnum
The other authors are the experts in the application of Bayesian statistics. The approach is beautifully logical and allows one to include what one already knows about a problem. At the time some skill in programming and in what to program was necessary. Nowadays it has become easier, though still not so simple as conventional frequentist methods.
Commissioned. Nothing new.
Mostly a survey of methods.
Tries basal dates for a region where peat growth began at different times. and assumes the peat bogs all follow the same developmental path. Much less precise than numerous dates on a single core. Interesting as it fits parameters assuming error in both abscissa and ordinate.
Early attempt to distinguish carbon sequestration from climate change potential. Not what most bryologists were interested in, and almost completely ignored.
(57) Clymo RS (1998). Sphagnum, the peatland carbon economy, and climate change. Bryology for the Twenty-First Century. Eds Bates JW, Ashton NW, Duckett JG. Leeds, Maney Publishing Company and The British Bryological Society: 361-368.
Invited contribution to a BES special meeting. Feedback mechanism that tends to keep peat growth rate steady.
(60) Belyea LR. Clymo RS (1999). Do hollows control the rate of peat bog growth? Patterned mires and mire pools: origin and development, flora and fauna. Eds Standen V, Tallis JH, Meade R. London, British Ecological Society: 55-65.
Great fun. A meeting in Finland in a series 'The aesthetics of ...'. This one was 'peatlands' (there is a lot of peatland in Finland). This article attempts to set the scientific background for a general academic audience. This version is the Finnish text (translated from my English original). The unpublished English original follows as (61a).
Original English text from which the published Finnish version (61) was made.
Extended version of (60): feedback mechanism that tends to keep peat growth rate steady. Fundamentally rather important (to peat persons). Not really difficult but does need concentration to follow.
For years I had tried to persuade a hydrologist to measure the profile of hydraulic conductivity at Ellergower Moss: how quickly can peat pore water move? In the end I did the work myself (the image at the top of the page shows the arrangements for reading water levels in tubes using a monocular). It turned out that the conductivity was so low that a 'hydraulic amplifier' was necessary to get measurements. There is also clear evidence that there is an impermeable layer at the base of the peat.
I did the field sampling and model writing, CB did the lab work. The results were exceptionally clear and illuminating. Twenty years ago we aould have sent this to Royal Society Proceedings, but they now impose page limits much too short for what this needed.
Project started by Eville Gorham using the same principle as (56) of using basal dates and assuming, unrealistically, that on average bogs which started at different times followed the same trajectory all over North America. But Clarence Lehman developed the idea much further to develop a prognosis for bog area and carbon content in the absence of climate change. A brave try.
This concerns an abandoned experiment at Moor House NNR.Smith from Harwell placed tritiated water into blanket peat to see how much dispersed from the injection point and how quickly. He was then moved to other work and the experiment abandoned after the first set of samples were measured. The context was the possibility of using peat to as a dump for waste radioactivity. I had known about the experiment fro more than a decade. Disposal in peat would never be allowed now, and even the experiment (with unconfined distribution of radioactivity in the envirinment) would not be allowed. So it seemed worth seeing what could be salvaged. I found quite a lot of the tritium, most within a couple of metres of the injection, but some at least 50 m away. Quite a lot was not found. Losses by evaporation could not be quantified, and nor could losses into theunderlying substrate, which was of mixed rocks, pebbles, and sand set in a matrix of the stickiest clay I have ever come across. We lacked the equipment to samle this substrate. Still, it was an interesting and worthwhile rescue attempt.
I first tried to make a simulation of a raised peat bog growing in the 1970s. But the computer(s) available to me were tooslow and had too little storage. Forty years later, being retired, and computers having speeds and storage vastly greater than i the 1970s, Ithought it was worth trying again. The result runs easily on a modern reasonably good desktop or laptop. Main purpose education. Great fun coding.(72) Clymo RS (2017) A video simulating the growth of a raised bog. Mires and Peat 19(16) 1-7.