Benthic foraminifera assemblages at Great Meteor Seamount
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Foraminiferal assemblages found at Great Meteor Seamount were studied in August 1998. Communities of living foraminifera in surface sediments from the plateau (290–325 m water depth) and from the surrounding base (2,300–4,096 m) were compared in abundances, diversity, and species composition. In this oligotrophic region, densities were very low, but diversity was high. Highest numbers were observed at the deep stations north, south, and east of the seamount and at the shallow station in the north of the plateau. Lowest densities were recorded southwest of the plateau centre and at the lee side of the seamount. We explain this distribution pattern with variable amounts of fresh organic material, caused by local oceanic currents. Generally, plateau stations indicated coarser sediments, lower organic carbon content, and higher temperatures. The foraminiferal fauna showed bathyal to abyssal characteristics and similarities to assemblages previously described from other parts of the North Atlantic and other oceans. Several dominant species extended between the two habitats, on the plateau and in the surrounding deep sediments, but other species were found exclusively at deep stations, at plateau stations, or at the abyssal reference station.