Benthic foraminiferal patchiness – revisited.

Schönfeld, Joachim, Glock, Nicolaas, Polovodova Asteman, Irina, Roy, Alexandra-Sophie, Warren, Marié, Weissenbach, Julia and Wukovits, Julia (2023) Benthic foraminiferal patchiness – revisited. Open Access Journal of Micropalaeontology, 42 (2). pp. 171-192. DOI 10.5194/jm-42-171-2023.

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Many benthic organisms show aggregated distribution patterns due to the spatial heterogeneity of niches or food availability. In particular, high-abundance patches of benthic foraminifera have been reported that extend from centimetres to metres in diameter in salt marshes or shallow waters. The dimensions of spatial variations of shelf or deep-sea foraminiferal abundances have not yet been identified. Therefore, we studied the distribution of Globobulimina turgida dwelling in the 0–3 cm surface sediment at 118 m water depth in the Alsbäck Deep, Gullmar Fjord, Sweden. Standing stock data from 58 randomly replicated samples depicted a log-normal distribution of G. turgida with weak evidence for an aggregated distribution on a decimetre scale. A model simulation with different patch sizes, outlines, and impedances yielded no significant correlation with the observed variability of G. turgida standing stocks. Instead, a perfect match with a random log-normal distribution of population densities was obtained. The data–model comparison revealed that foraminiferal populations in the Gullmar Fjord were not moulded by any underlying spatial structure beyond 10 cm diameter. Log-normal population densities also characterise data from contiguous, gridded, or random sample replicates reported in the literature. Here, a centimetre-scale heterogeneity was found and interpreted to be a result of asexual reproduction events and restricted mobility of juveniles. Standing stocks of G. turgida from the Alsbäck Deep temporal data series from 1994 to 2021 showed two distinct cohorts of samples of either high or low densities. These cohorts are considered to represent two distinct ecological settings: hypoxic and well-ventilated conditions in the Gullmar Fjord. Environmental forcing is therefore considered to impact the population structure of benthic foraminifera rather than their reproduction dynamics.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: foraminifera, benthic environment, Gullmar Fjord, aggegated distribution, dissolved oxygen, modelling study
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Main POF Topic: PT2: Ocean and Cryosphere
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2023 12:36
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 15:35

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