Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 9, pp 3299–3306 | Cite as

Breaching biogeographic barriers: the invasion of Haynesina germanica (Foraminifera, Protista) in the Bahía Blanca estuary, Argentina

Original Paper


Large populations of the living benthic foraminifera Haynesina germanica (Ehrenberg 1840) are reported for the first time from marsh and intertidal mud flat sediments of the Bahía Blanca estuary (Argentina). Maximum abundance of living specimens was recorded in shallow intertidal environments. The species was previously recorded from many European and North American shallow-water coastal settings, but has not been documented from Argentina. Comparative faunal assemblage analysis from dated core sample material from within the Bahía Blanca estuary shows that the species has not been present for at least the last 8,200 years. This supports the hypothesis that the species has been accidentally introduced outside its natural range as a probable result of ballast water and/or shipping activities. This study is the first report of a successful invasion of non-indigenous benthic foraminifera to the South Atlantic coast of Argentina. The introduction of nonnative foraminiferal species provides new evidence that human-mediated breaching of biogeographic barriers, will ultimately result in the biotic homogenization of foraminiferal intertidal faunal assemblages.


Protists Invasive species Ballast water Bahía Blanca estuary Tidal flats Foraminifera 



The authors are grateful to Paula Pratolongo and Gerardo Perillo (IADO-Argentina), for providing sample material and support with the field work. Walid Makled (Bonn) assisted with the SEM preparation and drafts of figures. We appreciate the comments on an earlier draft by Gabriela Cusminsky and Sara Ballent. Constructive comments were supplied by J. T. Carlton. We also thank Miguel Schnegelberger for logistic support and Silvia Watanabe and Anna Weinmann for additional information concerning the distribution of Haynesina. This study was supported by a grant from the DAAD awarded to LCM (A/08/74855) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft awarded to ML (La 884/5-1, 5-2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro Regional Universitario BarilocheUniversidad Nacional del Comahue, INIBIOMA-CONICETBarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Steinmann Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und PaläontologieRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms UniversitätBonnGermany

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