Saronikos Gulf, including the industrial zone of Elefsis Bay and the Port of Piraeus, is one of the most anthropogenically impacted coastal regions of Greece. Distinct assemblages of benthic foraminifers in sediment samples, collected from this gulf in February 2012, defined three zones that reflect abiotic parameters of the sediments (e.g., organic carbon, metal content). A low-diversity assemblage, dominated by stress-tolerantAmmonia tepida and Bulimina spp., was characteristic of samples from Elefsis Bay. Samples from the western and central part of Saronikos Gulf were the most variable with respect to both abiotic parameters and the foraminiferal assemblage, characterized by a mix of stress-tolerant and more sensitive taxa, especially Bolivina spp. andNonion fabum. Samples from the coast of Salamis and at the eastern sector of the gulf were characterized by a diverse assemblage that included Peneroplis pertusus, miliolids, and a variety of small, epiphytic rotaliid taxa. A new biotic index, the Foram Stress Index (FSI), is based on the relative percentages of two ecological groups of benthic foraminiferal species, grouped according to their tolerance/sensitivity to organic matter enrichment and weighted proportionately to obtain a formula to define five ecological-status classes. The FSI produced three rankings for these samples (Poor, Moderate and Good), that strongly correlate with the macroinvertebrate-classification tool known as the BENTIX Index. The FSI provides a new tool to assess sediment or substrata quality based upon the benthic foraminiferal assemblages, which are a significant component of living meiobenthic communities that are generally not considered in most biotic benthic indices.
Combined micropaleontological and geochemical analyses of the high-sedimentation gravity core M-4G provided new centennial-scale paleoceanographic data for sapropel S1 deposition in the NE Aegean Sea during the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Sapropel layer S1a (10.2–8.0 ka) was deposited in dysoxic to oxic bottom waters characterized by a high abundance of benthic foraminiferal species tolerating surface sediment and/or pore water oxygen depletion (e.g.,Chilostomella mediterranensis, Globobulimina affinis), and the presence of Uvigerina mediterranea, which thrives in oxic mesotrophic-eutrophic environments. Preservation of organic matter (OM) is inferred based on high organic carbon as well as loliolide and isololiolide contents, while the biomarker record and the abundances of eutrophic planktonic foraminifera document enhanced productivity. High inputs of terrigenous OM are attributed to north Aegean borderland riverine inputs. Both alkenone-based sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and δO18 G. bulloides records indicate cooling at 8.2 ka (S1a) and ~7.8 ka (S1 interruption). Sapropelic layer S1b (7.7–6.4 ka) is characterized by rather oxic conditions; abundances of foraminiferal species tolerant to oxygen depletion are very low compared with the U. mediterranea rise. Strongly fluctuating SSTs demonstrate repeated cooling and associated dense water formation, with a major event at 7.4 ka followed by cold spells at 7.0, 6.8, and 6.5 ka. The prominent rise of the carbon preference index within the S1b layer indicates the delivery of less degraded terrestrial OM. The increase of algal biomarkers, labile OM-feeding foraminifera and eutrophic planktonic species pinpoints an enhanced in situ marine productivity, promoted by more efficient vertical convection due to repeated cold events. The associated contributions of labile marine OM along with fresher terrestrial OM inputs after ~7.7 ka imply sources alternative/additional to the north Aegean riverine borderland sources for the influx of organic matter in the south Limnos Basin, plausibly related to the inflow of highly productive Marmara/Black Sea waters.
Quantitative analyses of calcareous nannofossils in the sediments of Pissouri South section on the island of Cyprus have produced a paleoceanographic record reflecting the paleoclimatic conditions during the Zanclean/Piacenzian transition. Pissouri South cyclical lithological alternations between organic-rich laminated layers and grey marls reflect the Earth’s orbital precession. According to the calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy which has been performed, the studied section is correlated with MNN14/15 and MNN16 calcareous nannofossil biozones and is astronomically dated between 4.065 and 3.217 Ma. Intervals of increased organic carbon content, along with the positive values ofFlorisphaera profunda, Helicosphaera sellii, Discoaster spp. and the subsequent increase of stratification S-index, correspond to the sapropel deposition during periods of wetter climate and intense continental runoff, especially from the river Nile. These layers alternate with grey marly intervals, featured by the increased values of small placoliths of Reticulofenestra and Gephyrocapsaspecies, which are indicative of eutrophic conditions during intense surface-water mixing. Our data support the prevalence of a generally warm phase characterized by the absence of high-frequency climate variations in the southeastern Mediterranean during the Zanclean/Piacenzian (Early/Late Pliocene) transition.
This paper concerns records of species that have extended their distribution in the Mediterranean Sea. The finding of the rare brackish angiosperm Althenia filiformis in the island of Cyprus is interesting since its insertion in the Red Data Book of the Flora of Cyprus is suggested. The following species enriched the flora or fauna lists of the relevant countries: the red alga Sebdenia dichotoma (Greece), the hydrachnid mite Pontarachna adriatica (Slovenia), and the thalassinid Gebiacanthatalismani (Turkey). Several alien species were recorded in new Mediterranean localities. The record of the burrowing goby Trypauchenvagina in the North Levantine Sea (Turkish coast), suggests the start of spreading of this Lessepsian immigrant in the Mediterranean Sea. The findings of the following species indicate the extension of their occurrence in the Mediterranean Sea: the foraminifer Amphistegina lobifera (island of Zakynthos, Greece), the medusa Cassiopea andromeda (Syria), the copepod Centropagesfurcatus (Aegean Sea), the decapod shrimp Melicertus hathor (island of Kastellorizo, Greece), the crab Menoethius monoceros (Gulf of Tunis), the barnacles Balanus trigonus, Megabalanus tintinnabulum, Megabalanus coccopoma and the bivalves Chama asperella, Cucurbitula cymbium (Saronikos Gulf, Greece).
Detailed quantitative analyses of calcareous nannofossils/coccolithophores performed on the deep sea deposits of the north eastern Mediterranean Sea; two gravity core from North Aegean Sea (SL 152) and south Cretan continental margin (HCMR 2/22), with a focus on the regional expression of sapropel S1 deposition. In both sites, higher values of Florisphaera profunda, Helicosphaera spp., Braarudosphaera bigelowii and the concomitant increase of stratification S index, within sapropel intervals can be interpreted as the result of elevated marine production and enhanced inflow of fresh water input during the S1 period. A series of cooling events detected within the S1 depositional interval, may be linked to outbursts of cold northerly air masses and relevant pulses in the deep-intermediate water ventilation that caused the temporary cessation of S1 deposition between 7.8-7.5 ka uncal. BP in North Aegean and 8.1-7.8 ka uncal. BP at the south Cretan margin. During this interval the peak of Braarudosphaera bigelowii, the decrease in abundance of Florisphaera profunda, Helicosphaera spp., Rhabdosphaera spp. and a general increase in NPP are related to a shoaling of the nutricline and higher production in the surface layer.
Living coccolithophores were collected from eight stations along a transect in the gulf of Korthi (southeastern Andros island, Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean) in August 2001. Samples were collected from 0–120 m water depth to determine the cell density, the species composition and the biogeographical (spatial and vertical) distribution of the coccolithophore biocommunities in coastal marine ecosystems. The studies revealed an impressive heterococcolith–holococcolith combination coccosphere (SEM micrograph) involving the species Algirosphaera robusta and Sphaerocalyptra quadridentata. In addition, a second association was observed by light microscopy. This discovery verifies the suggestions of Kamptner (1941) and provides strong proof on the assignment of these two ‘species’ in a common life cycle, increasing significantly our knowledge of life-cycle pairings ecology.
Water samples were collected for coccolithophore analysis in August 2001, from 8 stations along a transect in the gulf of Korthi (Andros Island, Aegean sea). Samples were collected from 0-120m water-depth to determine the spatial and vertical distribution of individual holococcolithophore species in coastal environments. Holococcolithophore absolute abundances usually range between 7.29x103 and 0.06x103 cells/l. The distribution patternsi ndicate that holococcolithophores may constitute a significant part of the summer flora in the upper photic zone of the coastal waters of Andros island, providing evidence of vertical distribution in the water column and showing affinities to shallower environments and rather normal nutrification conditions.
Benthic foraminifera widespread occurrence, numerical abundance and high fossilization potential rank them among the most powerful biological tools to reconstruct paleoenvironments. Their diversity and composition by suborder sometimes provide a general indication of the past environment, but the benthic taxonomic composition and recognition of faunal assemblages allow more detailed assessments of water depth, intertidal level, salinity, exposure to water turbulence, bottom oxygen concentrations, water temperature and carbon flux. The distribution of benthic foraminifera group is determined, and an analysis of the data is made in an effort to isolate and identify important relationships between the distribution of organisms studied and the parameters of the physical environment. Benthic Foraminifera of the Upper Pliocene Tsoutsouras section (southern Crete) are analysed in order to investigate their relationship with paleodepth, sediment grain size and climatic changes. This paper encompasses the first detailed quantitative paleoenvironmental analysis based on benthic foraminifera from this area. Q-mode analysis revealed the existence of three associations. A. beccarii-Miliolids association corresponds to a rather shallow marine environment with vegetation in the neighbourhood. A. planorbis-Agglutinants is characterized by a decline in the salinity and the existence of moderate environmental stress which is associated by oxygen depletion and increase of primary productivity. In the upper part of the section V.bradyana – C. carinata association represents theestablishment of a restricted environment with abundant nutrient, where organic matter accumulates and infaunal opportunistic species capable of surviving in stressed conditions dominate.
Water samples for coccolithophorid analysis were collected in August 2001, from 8 stations along a transect in the gulf of Korthi (Andros Island, Aegean sea). Samples were collected from 0-120m water-depth. Holococcolithophorid absolute abundances usually range between 7.29x103 and 0.06x103 cells/l. The derived distribution patterns indicate that holococcolithophorids bearing holococcoliths with convex cover above the tube, may constitute a significant part of the summer flora in the uppermost photic zone of the coastal waters of Andros island, showing affinities to shallower environments.
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