A PALEOECOLOGICAL STUDY OF BENTHIC FORAMINIFERA IN TROPICAL MARINE MACROPHYTE COMMUNITIES
Surface and subsurface sediment samples (N=14) were collected along a 500m transect off North Point. Grain size analyses of the sediment, qualitative and quantitative analyses of marine plant-algae communities, and analyses of the benthic foraminiferal assemblage were conducted in order to characterize biological and sedimentological settings in different shallow-marine habitats. Life and death assemblages of benthic foraminifera (>125 µm fraction) and the total density and diversity of epiphytic foraminifera were collected from marine macrophytes within 0.25 m2 quadrats.
Sedimentology is highly variable, as are the macrophyte communities found in different habitats. Foraminiferal abundance and diversity show distinctive patterns likely reflecting a combination of substrate characteristics, vegetation density and type, and local water energy conditions. Increased productivity of living foraminifera is observed in habitats with stronger surface currents and on hard grounds. Within a habitat, the epiphytic foraminiferan life assemblage shows little concordance with the respective death assemblage. However, the compostion and diversity of the infaunal foraminiferan death assemblage suggest a strong correlation with marine macrophytes.