Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 205–225 | Cite as

Basal foraminifera and gromiids (Protista) at the Håkon-Mosby Mud Volcano (Barents Sea slope)

  • Andrew J. GoodayEmail author
  • Olga E. Kamenskaya
  • Thomas Soltwedel
Original Paper


We describe the occurrence of basal (‘primitive’) foraminifera and gromiids (a distinct taxon related to the foraminifera) in different bathyal habitats of the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano (HMMV, Barents Sea). The foraminifera include two distinct groupings: (1) soft-shelled monothalamous foraminifera (‘allogromiids’, ‘saccamminids’ and ‘psammosphaerids’) and (2) brown organic-walled foraminifera (genera Conicotheca, Nodellum, Placopsilinella and Resigella). Samples were analysed from (1) the ‘hot centre’ of the volcano where fluid upflow was maximal; (2) smooth and structured muds in a ‘warm’ area of the centre where fluid upflow was reduced; (3) areas covered by Beggiatoa mats; (4) an area colonised by siboglinid polychaetes (‘pogonophores’); and (5) areas of ‘normal’ seafloor outside the volcano. Together, the studied organisms represented 57.8 % (‘normal’ seafloor; n = 418), 28.5 % (‘warm centre’; n = 122), and 26.4 % (Beggiatoa mats; n = 5) of all ‘live’ (stained) foraminifera in three samples (0–1 cm layer) that were sorted for all stained foraminifera. In total, the 17 samples examined yielded 21 ‘allogromiid’ (organic-walled), 25 ‘saccamminid’ (agglutinated) and 5 other morphospecies among the monothalamous foraminifera, as well as 5 ‘brown-walled’ and 5 gromiid morphospecies. Four taxa were identified to species (Conicotheca nigrans, Resigella moniliforme, R. polaris, Micrometula hyalinosphaera); another seven were assigned to the genera Bathyallogromia, Conqueria, Nodellum, Placopsilinella, Resigella, Tinogullmia and Vanhoeffenella. All others were undescibed at the genus level. Some species, notably ‘Saccamminid sp. 5’, C. nigrans and Nodellum sp., were distributed in sediment layers down to 5 cm depth, and sausage-shaped gromiids were also present in the deeper layers of some samples. The number of basal foraminiferal and gromiid morphospecies varied considerably from site to site. It was relatively high north of the volcano (42 morphospecies in 4 samples) and in the ‘warm centre’ (28 morphospecies in 2 samples), somewhat lower southwest of the volcano (at least 13 morphospecies in 2 samples) and in the siboglinid field (14 morphospecies in three samples), and substantially reduced in the bacterial mat area (5 morphospecies in 6 samples). The scarcity of these protists at the bacterial mat sites is probably a consequence of high sulfide concentrations. No stained foraminifera or gromiids were observed at the ‘hot centre’ site. In general, assemblages from within and around the HMMV resembled those reported from other bathyal sites, notably in the Porcupine Seabight. Saccamminid sp. 5, by far the most common species in our samples, belongs to a ‘lamp-like’ morphotype that is widely distributed in the oceans. The wall structure, and the presence of what appears to be an internal partition across the base of the neck, is reminiscent of some komokiaceans.


Protozoa Deep-sea benthos Arctic Foraminifera Gromiida Seep HMMV HERMIONE 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped to improve the manuscript. This paper is a contribution to the EU Framework 6 Integrated Project HERMES and the Framework 7 Collaborative Project HERMIONE. A.J.G. and O.E.K. were partly funded by HERMES and HERMIONE grants; O.E.K. received additional support from Minobrnauki of Russian Federation, Project 8664.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Gooday
    • 1
    Email author
  • Olga E. Kamenskaya
    • 2
  • Thomas Soltwedel
    • 3
  1. 1.National Oceanography Centre, SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Laboratory of Ocean Benthic FaunaRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar-und MeeresforschungBremerhavenGermany

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