The Pissouri basin (Cyprus Island) corresponds to a small tectonically controlled depression elongated NNW-SSE and widening southward in the direction of the deep Mediterranean domain. In the centre of the basin, the section Pissouri South, about 100 m thick, consists of well-preserved cyclic marine sediments including laminated brownish layers alternating with grey homogeneous marls. Plankton biostratigraphy (calcareous nannofossil and planktonic foraminifera) revealed a remarkable number of biovents bracketing the Zanclean-Piacenzian boundary. In particular the Highest Occurrence (HO) of Reticulofenestra pseudoumbilicus suggests the presence of NN14/15-NN16 nannofossil biozone boundary, dated at 3.84 Ma. Additionally the defined planktonic foraminiferal MPL3-MPL4a and MPL4a-MPL4b zone boundaries point to ages between 3.81 and 3.57 Ma, in Pissouri North section. Zanclean/Piacenzian boundary (3.6 Ma) is placed at 75.8 m from the base of the section, considering Discoaster pentaradiatus top paracme (3.61 Ma) and Globorotalia crassaformis first influx (3.6 Ma) bioevents. The cyclically developed sapropelic layers around the Zanclean – Piacenzian boundary suggest a climate characterized by a period of warm temperate conditions and a highly stratified water column that occurred at times of precession minima.
Detailed quantitative analyses of coccolithophores performed on the shallow deposits of the southeastern Aegean region (core NS-14, 505 m depth), evidenced that the distribution of calcareous nannoplankton assemblages during the last 13 ka BP reflects paleoenvironmental changes which are directly related to parameters such as temperature, salinity, productivity and nutrient flux in the water column. Analysis enabled the separation of the assemblages in four groups. Group A consists of Emiliania huxleyi and the subtropical species Syracosphaera spp. and Rhabdosphaera clavigera, Group B is composed of Helicospaera spp. and Florisphaera profunda, typical species for high productivity conditions in the middle-lower photic zone, Group C consists of Gephyrocapsa oceanica and Braarudosphaera bigelowii, that characterise low salinity conditions and Group D includes Umbilicosphaera spp. and Calcidiscus spp. which are described as relatively eutrophic species. The Holocene assemblages differ distinctly from the living coccolithophore communities in the coastal ecosystems of the Aegean Sea, where only Group A coccolithophores are thriving in the seasonally controlled marine environment.
A seasonal morphological variability is observed in Emiliania huxleyi var. huxleyi specimens, collected from discrete water samples in the Aegean Sea. Biometric analyses reveal a consistent pattern of increase in the size of coccoliths and coccospheres, including the thickness of the inner tube elements (INT), in winter/spring time low sea surface temperature and moderate productivity samples when compared with summer time high temperature–low productivity samples. The small range of salinity change in the Aegean Sea and the absence of seasonal pattern in nutrient content do not support any association with the observed increase in E. huxleyi coccolith size. A relatively increased [HCO3-] content is observed during spring-time interval related with the increase in the coccolith size, however it remains unclear which parameter of the carbonate system causes the observed effects.
In core ADE3-23 collected in the Libyan Sea, the nannofossil species Coccolithus pelagicus, Coronosphaera spp., Helicosphaera spp., Syracosphaera spp., Calcidiscus spp., small Gephyrocapsa spp., and the planktonic foraminifers Globigerina bulloides, Neogloboquadrina pachyderma, Globorotalia scitula, Turborotalita quinqueloba and Neogloboquadrina dutertrei prevail in sapropel S6 (midpoint at 172 ka B.P.), indicative of cold and highly productive surface conditions. Warm and highly stratified water-column conditions are recorded by the characteristic assemblage of Globigerinoides ruber, Globoturborotalita rubescens, Florisphaera profunda, Rhabdosphaera spp. during the sapropel S5 depositional interval (midpoint at 124 ka B.P.). Compared with S5, Globigerinita glutinata, Globorotalia inflata, Globigerinella siphonifera, Globorotalia truncatulinoides and the calcareous nannofossil Emiliania huxleyi characterise less stratified conditions within sapropel S1 (midpoint at 8.5 ka B.P.). Multivariate statistical analyses of calcareous nannofossil and planktonic foraminifers in core ADE3-23 identify planktonic assemblages which typify sapropels S6, S5 and S1 in the Libyan Sea. A warmer interval is recognised in the middle part of the cold S6, and can beassociated with an influx of less saline waters and the occurrence of a faint, temporary deep chlorophyll maximum. Evidence for enhanced surface productivity and breakdown of stratification is observed in the middle–upper part of the warm S5, associated with climatic deterioration. Moreover, an increase in surface productivity in the upper S1 implies weak stratification. Our combined calcareous nannofossil and planktonic foraminiferal data add to the evidence that climate variability was more pronounced than commonly considered to date for all the three studied Eastern Mediterranean sapropel depositional intervals.
Living coccolithophores were collected in February 2008, in surface waters from seven stations over the western Cretan Straits (South Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean). The coccolithophore distribution was quantitatively documented through Scanning Electron Microscopy in terms of density, diversity and community structure. In the study period, the most abundant species was Emiliania huxleyi, followed by Rhabdosphaera clavigera and Syracosphaera pulchra, while additional important component of the winter assemblages were Helicosphaera carteri, Algirosphaera robusta and Syracosphaera molischii. The studied coccolithophore communities indicate a close relationship between coccosphere densities and surface water circulation, with the surface temperature gradient affecting species composition.
The present study provides additional data on the distributional range of six alien foraminiferal species in living assemblages from Greek coastal areas (Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean). Amphistegina lobifera LARSEN 1976, Sorites orbiculus (FORSK L 1775) and Coscinospira hemprichii EHRENBERG 1839 are well established in Greek coastal areas, whereas Triloculina fichteliana D'ORBIGNY 1839, Planogypsina acervalis (BRADY 1884) and Cymbaloporetta plana (CUSHMAN 1924), are recorded for the first time in this paper. The occurrence of these species in a number of sites in the Aegean Sea establishes their presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (+30) 210-7274920 Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment Panepistimiopolis Zografou Athens, 15784 email@example.com