Benthic foraminifera in surface sediments, South Atlantic, supplement to: Schmiedl, Gerhard; Mackensen, Andreas; Müller, Peter J (1997): Recent benthic foraminifera from the eastern South Atlantic Ocean: dependence on food supply and water masses. Marine Micropaleontology, 32(3-4), 249-287


Sixty surface sediment samples from the eastern South Atlantic Ocean including the Walvis Ridge, the Angola and Cape basins, and the Southwest African continental margin were analysed for their benthic foraminiferal content to unravel faunal distribution patterns and ecological preferences.Live (stained with Rose Bengal) and dead faunas were counted separately and then each grouped by Q-mode principal component analysis into seven principal faunal end-members. Then, multiple regression technique was used to correlate Recent assemblages with available environmental variables and to finally differentiate between four principal groups of environmental agents acting upon the generation of benthic foraminiferal assemblages: (1) seasonality of food supply and organic carbon flux rates, together with oxygen content in the pore and bottom waters; (2) lateral advection of deep-water masses; (3) bottom water carbonate corrosiveness; and (4) energetic state at the benthic boundary layer and grain size composition of the substrate.Food supply and corresponding dissolved oxygen contents in the pore and bottom waters turned out to be the most important factors which control the distribution pattern of the Recent benthic foraminifera. At the continental margin, in the zone of coastal upwelling and its mixing area, benthic foraminiferal assemblages are dominated by stenobathic high-productivity faunas, characterized by elevated standing stocks, low diversities and a large number of endobenthic living species. At the continental shelf and upper continental slope the live assemblages are characterized by Rectuvigerina cylindrica, Uvigerina peregrina s.1., Uvigerina auberiana and Rhizammina spp. while the dead assemblages are characterized by Cassidulina laevigata, Bolivina dilatata, Bulimina costata and B. mexicana. At the lower continental slope strong influence of high organic matter fluxes on the species composition is restricted to the area off the Cunene river mouth, where the live assemblage is dominated by Uvigerina peregrina s.1., the corresponding dead assemblage by Melonis barleeanum and M. zaandamae. In the adjacent areas of the lower continental slope the biocoenosis is characterized by Reophax bilocularis, and Epistominella exigua which becomes dominant in the corresponding dead assemblage.At the Walvis Ridge and in the abyssal Angola and Cape basins, where organic matter fluxes are low and highly seasonal, benthic foraminiferal assemblages reflect both the oligotrophic situation and the deep and bottom water mass configuration. The top and flanks of the Walvis Ridge are inhabited by the Rhizammina, Psammosphaera and R. bilocularis live assemblages, the corresponding dead assemblages are dominated by G. subglobosa on the ridge top and E. exigua on the flanks. Within the highly diverse E. exigua dead assemblage several associated epibenthic species coincide with the core of NADW between about 1600 and 3700 m water depth. These species include Osangularia culter, Cibicidoides kullenbergi, Melonis pompilioides, Bolivinita pseudothalmanni and Bulimina alazanensis. The assemblages of the abyssal Cape and Angola basins are characterized by Nuttallides umbonifer and a high proportion of agglutinated species. These species are adapted to very low organic matter fluxes and a carbonate corrosive environment.

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Schmiedl, Gerhard; Mackensen, Andreas; Müller, Peter J
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 1997
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 767 data points
Discipline Geosciences
Spatial Coverage (0.143W, -30.270S, 15.210E, -11.587N); Walvis Ridge; Angola Basin; Cape Basin; Namibia Continental Margin
Temporal Coverage Begin 1988-02-24T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 1992-01-22T00:00:00Z