Paper No. 66-0
RICHARDSON, Susan L., Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, 701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34949,

Although a few studies have examined the benthic, sediment-dwelling foraminiferal faunas in mangrove habitats, there have not been any studies to date that have specifically surveyed the epiphytic foraminiferans living on the seagrasses in mangrove habitats. The present study is focused on the epiphytic foraminiferans living on the seagrass Thalasssia testudinum. Seagrasses were sampled from a variety of localities in close proximity to the Twin Cays, a pair of mangrove islands in Belize, C. A. For comparative purpose, seagrasses were collected from Carrie Bow Cay and Man-of-War Cay, two sites that are subject to considerable open-ocean influences. Seagrass blades were surveyed in the field for epiphytic foraminiferans. Live individuals were recognized by their distinctive cytoplasmic coloration, evidence of pseudopodial activity, and/or the presence of feeding cysts. The epiphytic faunas identified from seagrasses in the mangrove habitats are found to be characterized by higher species diversities (N=19-28), and dominated by the foraminiferal species Iridia diaphana, Rhizammina sp. 2, and Sorites dominicensis. In contrast, the epiphytic faunas identified from seagrasses at the open-ocean sites are characterized by relatively lower species diversities (N=11-15), and dominated by foraminiferal species Cornuspiramia antillarum. In addition, the following species were found to be associated with seagrasses in the mangrove habitats only: Androsina cf. A. lucasi, Articulina sp., Heterillina cribrostoma, Laevipeneroplis cf. L. karreri, Miliolinella labiosa, and Vertebralina sp. These results highlight the potential utility of epiphytic foraminiferal assemblages paleoenvironmental indicators of mangrove habitats in the fossil record.

GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 66
Foraminifera: Barometers of the Biotic and Abiotic World I
Hynes Convention Center: 312
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, November 6, 2001

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