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Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 547–557 | Cite as

Foraminiferal ecozones in two submarine caves of the Orosei Gulf (Sardinia, Italy)

  • Luisa Bergamin
  • Andrea Marassich
  • Claudio Provenzani
  • Elena Romano
Changes and Crises in the Mediterranean Sea

Abstract

Because submarine caves are affected by wide spatial and temporal environmental variability, they are ideal environments for studying the effects of environmental changes on ecological indicators. Benthic foraminifera are protozoa living in marine and transitional habitats, developing typical assemblages as a response to different environmental conditions. For this, they have been increasingly used as ecological indicators for environmental characterization and monitoring. This study was the first one aimed to compare benthic foraminiferal fauna of two different submarine caves of temperate areas, Bel Torrente and Bue Marino, in the Orosei Gulf (Sardinia, Italy). It resumes the main results obtained in Bel Torrente cave by a previous research, implemented by new data acquired by the study of Bue Marino cave. The caves were surveyed and sampled by GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) divers for the first 450 m to recognize distinct ecozones, their ecological significance, and to compare them as regards species composition and extent. The succession of Marine, Entrance and Transitional Ecozones was recognized in both the caves. While the Marine Ecozone pointed out environmental conditions very similar to those of shallow water marine environment, the Entrance and Transitional Ecozones indicated increasing environmental stress. In the Entrance Ecozone, the dominance of tolerant species was probably due to the high environmental variability for the episodic high energy floods and, locally, reduced oxygenation events. In the Transitional Ecozone, the decrease of seawater salinity and temperature, especially after rainy periods, probably encouraged the prevalence of agglutinated taxa, which are normally rare in Mediterranean shallow water marine environment, while they are common in high latitude basins.

Keywords

Submarine cave Benthic foraminifera Ecological indicators Orosei Gulf 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Maria Celia Magno and Giancarlo Pierfranceschi for grain size analyses. They also greatly appreciated the work done by Global Underwater Explorers and their divers (Anton van Rosmalen, Dorota Czerny, Ineke Van Daele, Jan Duikt, Jonas Patteet, Katja Muermans, Marco Colman, Matthias Trappeniers, Onno van Eijk, Peter Brandt, Ricardo Constantino, Sander Jansson), during the project. Many thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

12210_2018_700_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 24 kb)

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Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISPRA, Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca AmbientaleRomeItaly
  2. 2.Global Underwater ExplorersFloridaUSA

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