Advertisement

Deep-Sea Benthic Foraminifers: Food and Bottom Water Masses

  • Detmar Schnitker
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 17)

Abstract

Benthic foraminifers are an abundant, nearly cosmopolitan and easily preserved component of the deep-sea meiofauna. The benthic foraminiferal faunas are very strongly structured on regional scales. In the western North and South Atlantic the distribution of benthic assemblages follows the distribution of named “water masses,” leading to the expectation that fossil benthic foraminifers from sediment cores allow a reconstruction of past deep-water circulation patterns. However, in many other areas the faunal composition is strongly correlated with the productivity of the overlying surface waters. Such results demonstrate that the benthic meiofauna responds to the integral of the deep environment and it is the limiting or overwhelming influence that determines the success or failure of individual species and thus the composition of the fauna. Analysis of available data clearly indicates that benthic foraminifers are unequivocal indicators of productivity in areas where productivity is high. In areas of low or very uniform productivity the composition of the benthic fauna clearly carries the imprint of deep water mass structure as the dominant feature. Faunal sequences from late Quaternary cores from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans show very strong differentiations. Not only is the glacial/postglacial transition shown, but also much superimposed fine structure. Faunal composition is as sensitive to deep-water environmental change as are geochemical indicators. The faunal composition allows at least some appreciation of the cause for the major changes, but a quantitative differentiation between productivity or water mass changes is not yet possible. If, however, an independent assessment of productivity change is available, then the benthic foraminiferal faunas are exquisite indicators of changes in deep water circulation.

Keywords

Bottom Water Benthic Foraminifera Benthic Fauna Benthic Foraminifer Faunal Composition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bandy OL, Chierici MA (1966) Depth-temperature evaluation of selected California and Mediterranean bathyal foraminifera. Mar Geol 4:259–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berger WH, Herguera JC (1992) Reading the sedimentary record of the ocean’s productivity. In: Falkowski PG, Woodhead AD (eds) Primary Productivity and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Sea. Plenum Press, New York, p 455–486Google Scholar
  3. Bernhard JM (1992) Benthic foraminiferal distribution and biomass related to porewater oxygen content: central California continental slope and rise. Deep-Sea Res 39:585–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyle E, Keigwin LD (1982) Deep circulation of the North Atlantic over the last 200,000 years: Geochemical evidence. Science 218:784–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyle E, Keigwin L D (1987) North Atlantic thermohaline circulation during the past 20,000 years linked to high-latitude surface temperature. Nature 330:35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brady HB (1884) Report on the foraminifera dredged by H.M.S. Challenger, during the years 1873–1876. Rep Sci Res Voy Challenger, V 9 (Zool) p 814Google Scholar
  7. Bremer M, Lohmann GP (1982) Evidence for primary control of the distribution of certain Atlantic Ocean benthonic foraminifera by degree of carbonate saturation. Deep-Sea Res 29:987–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burke SC (1981) Recent benthic foraminifera of the Ontong Java Plateau. J Foram Res 11:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caralp MH (1984) Impact de la matière organique dans des zones de forte productivité sur certains foraminifères benthiques. Oceanologica Acta 7:509–515Google Scholar
  10. Caralp MH (1989) Abundance of Bulimina exilis and Melonis barleeanum: relationship to the quality of marine organic matter. Geo-Mar Lett 9:37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Corliss BH (1985) Microhabitats of benthic foraminifera within deep-sea sediments. Nature 314:435–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Corliss BH, Chen C (1988) Morphotype patterns of Norwegian Sea deep-sea benthic foraminifera and ecological implications. Geology 16:716–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Corliss BH, Emerson S (1990) Distribution of Rose Bengal stained deep-sea benthic foraminifera from the Nova Scotian continental margin and Gulf of Maine. Deep-Sea Res 37:381–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cushman JA (1910–1917) Foraminifera of the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Nat Mus Bull 71Google Scholar
  15. Cushman JA (1918–1931) The Foraminifera of the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Nat Mus Bull 104Google Scholar
  16. Douglas R, Woodruff F (1981) Deep sea benthic foraminifera. In: Emiliani C (ed.) The Oceanic Lithosphère. The Sea V 7:1233–1327. Wiley-Interscience, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Gofas S (1978) Une approche du paléoenvironnement océanique: les foraminifères benthiques calcaires, traceurs de la circulation abyssale. Thèse doct. Univ. de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, p 149Google Scholar
  18. Gooday A (1988) A response by benthic foraminifera to the deposition of phytodetritus in the deep-sea. Nature 332:70–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gooday AJ, Levin LA, Linke P, Heeger T (1992) The role of benthic foraminifera in deep-sea food webs and carbon cycling. In: Rowe GT, Pariente V (eds) Deep-Sea Food Chains and the Global Carbon Cycle. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht Boston London, p 63–91Google Scholar
  20. Graf G, Linke P, (1992) Adenosine nucleotides as indicators of deep-sea benthic metabolism. In: Rowe GT, Pariente V (eds) Deep-Sea Foodchains and the Global Carbon Cycle. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht Boston London, p 237–243Google Scholar
  21. Heeger T (1990) Elektronenmikroskopische Untersuchungen zur Ernährungsbiologie benthischer Foraminiferen. Berichte aus dem Sonderforschungsbereich 313. Universität Kiel, No 31, p 1–139Google Scholar
  22. Labeyrie LD, Duplessy JC, Duprat J, Juillet-Leclerc A, Moyes J, Michel E, Kallel N, Shackleton NJ (1992) Changes in the vertical structure of the North Atlantic Ocean between glacial and modern times. Quat Sci Rev 11:401–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Linke P (1992) Metabolic adaptations of deep-sea benthic foraminifera to seasonally varying food input. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 81:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lohmann GP (1978) Abyssal benthonic foraminifera as hydrographic indicators in the western South Atlantic Ocean. J Foram Res 7:7–34Google Scholar
  25. Loubere P (1991) Deep-sea benthic foraminiferal assemblage response to a surface ocean productivity gradient: a test. Paleoceanogr 6:193–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lutze GF, Altenbach A (1988) Rupertina stabilis (Wallich), a highly adapted, suspension feeding foraminifer. Meyniana 40:55–69Google Scholar
  27. Lutze GF, Coulbourn WT (1984) Recent benthic foraminifera from the continental margin of northwest Africa: Community structure and distribution. Mar Micropal 8:361–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lutze GF, Thiel H (1987) Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi and Planulina ariminensis, elevated epibenthic foraminifera. Univ. Kiel, Ber. Sonderforschungsbereich 313 6:17–30Google Scholar
  29. Mackensen A (1987) Benthische Foraminiferen auf dem Island-Schottland Rücken: Umwelt-Anzeiger an der Grenze zweier ozeanischer Räume. Paläont Z 61:149–179Google Scholar
  30. Mackensen A, Fütterer DK, Grobe H, Schmiedl G (in press). Benthic foraminiferal assemblages from the eastern South Atlantic Polar Front region between 35 and 57°S: distribution, ecology and fossilization potential. Mar MicropalGoogle Scholar
  31. Mackensen A, Sejrup H, Jansen E (1985) The distribution of living benthic foraminifera on the continental slope and rise off southwest Norway. Mar Micropal 9:275–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCorkle DC, Emerson SR (1988) The relationship between pore water carbon isotopic composition and bottom water oxygen concentration. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 52:1169–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Miller K, Lohmann GP (1982) Environmental distribution of Recent benthic foraminifera on the northeast United States continental slope. Geol Soc America Bull 93:200–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mix A (1989) Pleistocene paleoproductivity: evidence from organic carbon and foraminiferal species. In: Berger WH, Smetacek VS, Wefer G (eds) Productivity of the Ocean: Present and Past. Wiley-Interscience, Chichester New York Brisbane Toronto Singapore, p 313–340Google Scholar
  35. Nienstedt JC, Arnold AJ (1988) The distribution of benthic foraminifera on seamounts near the East Pacific Rise. J Foram Res 18:237–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pedersen T, Pickering M, et al. (1988) The response of benthic foraminifera to productivity cycles in the eastern equatorial Pacific: faunal and geochemical constraints on glacial bottom water oxygen levels. Paleoceanogr 3:157–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Phleger FB, Parker FL, and Peirson JF (1953) North Atlantic Foraminifera. Repts Swedish Deep-Sea Expedition, V 7, N 1, p 3–121Google Scholar
  38. Smith KL, Jr. (1992) Benthic boundary layer communities and carbon cycling at abyssal depths in the central North Pacific. Limnol Oceanogr 37:1034–1056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schnitker D (1974) West Atlantic abyssal circulation during the past 120,000 years. Nature 247:385–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schnitker D (1979) The deep waters of the western North Atlantic during the past 24,000 years, and the re-initiation of the Western Boundary Undercurrent. Mar Micropal 4:265–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schnitker D (1980) Quaternary deep-sea benthic foraminifers and bottom water masses. In: Donath FE (ed) Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 8:343–370Google Scholar
  42. Snider LJ, Burnett BR, Hessler RR (1984) The composition and distribution of meiofauna and nanobiota in a central North Pacific deep-sea area. Deep-Sea Res 31:1225–1249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Streeter SS (1973) Bottom water and benthonic foraminifera in the North Atlantic — glacial-interglacial contrasts. Quat Res 3:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Streeter SS, Lavery SA (1982) Holocene and latest glacial benthic foraminifera from the slope and rise off eastern North America. Geol Soc America Bull 93:190–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Streeter SS, Shackleton NJ (1979) Paleocirculation in the deep north Atlantic: 150,000 yr. record of benthic foraminifera and oxygen-18. Science 203:168–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Woodruff F, Savin SM (1989) Miocene deepwater oceanography. Paleoceanogr 4:87–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Detmar Schnitker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

Personalised recommendations