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Seasonal and interannual variability of benthic foraminiferal faunas at 550 m depth in the Bay of Biscay

Abstract : Live benthic foraminiferal faunas were sampled 10 times between October 1997 and April 2000 at a 550 m depth open-slope station in the Bay of Biscay. Duplicate cores for 5 samplings allow distinguishing between spatial and temporal variability of the foraminiferal faunas. Although spatial patchiness of the foraminiferal faunas is substantial, especially in the 63-150 μm fraction, the temporal variability appears to be larger. The foraminiferal patterns are compared with surface water primary production as assessed by the study of available SeaWIFS satellite images. In the study area, the primary production regime is marked by a pulselike and prolonged spring bloom and possibly a short fall bloom. Such periods of elevated chlorophyll- a concentration are followed, after a delay of about 4-6 weeks, by a strong frequency increase of the most opportunistic taxa of benthic foraminifera. Surprisingly, no change of bottom and interstitial water oxygenation and of redox conditions within the sediment is recorded. The small taxa Epistominella exigua, Reophax guttiferus, Bolivina spathulata, Cassidulina carinata and Nuttallides pusillus appear to respond first to a labile organic matter input, by a reproductive event marked by a strong patchy spatial distribution hypothetically resulting of the spatial heterogeneity of organic matter deposits. Uvigerina peregrina and Uvigerina mediterranea, the most opportunistic larger taxa, strongly dominate the >150 μm fraction during eutrophic periods (spring and fall blooms). Intermediate and deep infaunal taxa seem to depend less on fresh organic matter input, even if a small frequency increases are recorded in the >150 μm fraction during the most productive periods; Globobulimina affinis and Melonis barleeanus show reproductive events in rather shallow sediment layers in the more oligotrophic periods of the year. A conceptual model explains the increasing delay in the response to important phytoplankton bloom periods for the successive benthic ecosystem compartments.
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Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, March 24, 2022 - 4:26:53 PM
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C. Fontanier, F. J. Jorissen, G. Chaillou, C. David, P. Anschutz, et al.. Seasonal and interannual variability of benthic foraminiferal faunas at 550 m depth in the Bay of Biscay. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 2003, 50, pp.457-494. ⟨10.1016/S0967-0637(02)00167-X⟩. ⟨insu-03618915⟩



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