Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 933–946 | Cite as

Distribution of benthic foraminifera along the Iranian coast

  • Abduljamiu O. AmaoEmail author
  • Michael A. Kaminski
  • Masoud Asgharian Rostami
  • Mohamad Hosein Mahmudy Gharaie
  • Razyeh Lak
  • Fabrizio Frontalini
Original Paper


This study focuses on the distribution of benthic foraminifera along the Iranian coast of the Gulf, extending over 1000 km from the northeast close to Shatt Al-Arab/Arvand Rud to the southeast near the Strait of Hormuz where it connects to the Indian Ocean. The Gulf is a naturally stressed environment due to extremes of salinity and temperature and anthropogenically affected by rapid urbanization, maritime transport, desalination plants, and oil platforms. Historical records and distributional studies have commonly underestimated the benthic foraminiferal diversity in the Gulf. Thirty-two samples collected from depths between 20 and 45 m were analyzed for total (unstained) foraminiferal assemblages. A total of 221 benthic foraminiferal species and subspecies belonging to 69 genera, 34 families, and 6 orders were recognized. The assemblages are dominated by hyaline taxa (49%) and porcelaneous foraminifera (36%), while agglutinated foraminifera represent only a minor part (15%). The ten most abundant species are Nonion sp. 1 (5.8%), Quinqueloculina sp. 1 (4.7%), Asterorotalia dentata (4.2%), Bolivina cf. B. persiensis (3.9%), Asterorotalia sp. 3 (3.5%), Rotalinoides gaimardi (3.4%), Ammonia sp. 1 (3.3%), Quinqueloculina sp. 8 (3.3%), Bolivina cf. B. striatula (3.0%), and Nonion sp. 2 (2.8%). We speculate that increase of finer sediments (mud), availability of nutrients, and the presence of oxygen are factors controlling the diversity and distribution of benthic foraminifera. The current thermal regime in the Gulf has been cited as a model for the tropical ocean in 2090–2099. In light of it, foraminiferal assemblage structure, composition, and distribution may provide an insight into the nature of biotic response to future climate change in the Gulf region under conditions of global warming and a baseline for future comparison within and beyond the Gulf. This study also updates the knowledge on the types and distributions of benthic foraminiferal groups in this poorly known area.


The Gulf Arabian Gulf Persian Gulf Benthic foraminifera Diversity Iranian coast 



We thank the Marine Geology Department of Geological Survey of Iran for the sediment sampling and Prof. Pamela Hallock Muller for suggesting additional improvements and her expert editorial guidance. We also thank Dr. Maria Virgínia Alves Martins and the two other anonymous reviewers for their suggested improvements and insights.


We thank the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, for funding through Projects IN121028 and IN161002.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

12526_2018_879_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (271 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 271 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abduljamiu O. Amao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael A. Kaminski
    • 1
  • Masoud Asgharian Rostami
    • 2
  • Mohamad Hosein Mahmudy Gharaie
    • 3
  • Razyeh Lak
    • 4
  • Fabrizio Frontalini
    • 5
  1. 1.Geosciences Department, College of Petroleum Engineering and GeosciencesKing Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)DhahranSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran
  4. 4.Research Institute for Earth SciencesGeological Survey of IranTehranIran
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Scienze Pure e Applicate (DiSPeA)Università degli Studi di Urbino “Carlo Bo”UrbinoItaly

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