Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Biogeosciences, 11, 1155–1175, 2014

Special issue: Current biogeochemical and ecosystem research in the Northern...

Biogeosciences, 11, 1155–1175, 2014

Research article 26 Feb 2014

Research article | 26 Feb 2014

Live (Rose Bengal stained) foraminiferal faunas from the northern Arabian Sea: faunal succession within and below the OMZ

C. Caulle1, K. A. Koho2,3, M. Mojtahid1, G. J. Reichart2,3, and F. J. Jorissen1 C. Caulle et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Recent and Fossil Bio-Indicators, CNRS UMR6112 LPG-BIAF, Angers University, 2 Bd Lavoisier, 49045 Angers Cedex 01, France
  • 2Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 3Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ), Landsdiep 4, 1797 SZ 't Horntje (Texel), the Netherlands

Abstract. Live (Rose Bengal stained) benthic foraminifera from the Murray Ridge, within and below the northern Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), were studied in order to determine the relationship between faunal composition, bottom water oxygenation (BWO), pore water chemistry and organic matter (organic carbon and phytopigment) distribution. A series of multicores were recovered from a ten-station oxygen (BWO: 2–78 μM) and bathymetric (885–3010 m depth) transect during the winter monsoon in January 2009. Foraminifera were investigated from three different size fractions (63–125 μm, 125–150 μm and >150 μm). The larger foraminifera (>125 μm) were strongly dominated by agglutinated species (e.g. Reophax spp.). In contrast, in the 63–125 μm fraction, calcareous taxa were more abundant, especially in the core of the OMZ. On the basis of a principal components analysis, three foraminiferal groups were identified and correlated to the environmental parameters by canonical correspondence analysis. The faunas from the shallowest stations, in the core of the OMZ (BWO: 2 μM), were composed of "low oxygen" species, typical of the Arabian Sea OMZ (e.g. Rotaliatinopsis semiinvoluta, Praeglobobulimina sp., Bulimina exilis, Uvigerina peregrina type parva). These taxa are adapted to the very low BWO conditions and to high phytodetritus supplies. The transitional group, typical for the lower part of the OMZ (BWO: 5–16 μM), is composed of species that are tolerant as well to low-oxygen concentrations, but may be less critical with respect to organic supplies (e.g. Globocassidulina subglobosa, Ehrenbergina trigona). Below the OMZ (BWO: 26–78 μM), where food availability is more limited and becomes increasingly restricted to surficial sediments, cosmopolitan calcareous taxa were present, such as Bulimina aculeata, Melonis barleeanus, Uvigerina peregrina and Epistominella exigua. Miliolids were uniquely observed in this last zone, reflecting the higher BWO and/or lower organic input. At these deeper sites, the faunas exhibit a clear succession of superficial, intermediate and deep infaunal microhabitats, which can be linked to the deeper oxygen and nitrate penetration into the sediment.

Final-revised paper