A large part of what Bogologists get up to is referred to as ‘palaeoecology’. In our corner of the academic world, the prefix ‘palaeo’ means past, so by ‘palaeoecology’ we mean the ecology of the past, ‘palaeoclimatology’ means the climatology of the past and so on.
Modern ecologists study peatlands too. They might study the plants or microbes living on the bog surface, or catch and study the pollen landing on the bog from trees growing in the surrounding landscape or smaller plants growing more locally. Instead, palaeoecologists look at how these aspects of peatland ecology have changed over time – the same ecological evidence (e.g. plant remains, fossilised microbes and pollen) is captured in the gradually accumulating peat mass that we core back down through from today’s surface.
In fact, palaeoecology can be applied to any system that accumulates over time. This might can include lake and ocean sediments and even tree rings! We wouldn’t be the first to say that we are a little like environmental detectives! Explore this section of the website to find out more about the specific biological methods we use to study peatland palaeoecology, including testate amoebae, plant macrofossils and pollen.