CO-EVOLUTION OF FORAMINIFERA AND SEA GRASS COMMUNITIES SINCE THE LATE CRETACEOUS
In the Gulpen and Maastricht formations of the Maastricht area (The Netherlands and Belgium) sea grass fossils (both fronds and rhizomes) have been recorded in association with assemblages of both larger and smaller benthic foraminifera. Some of the large discoidal forms (e.g., Omphalocyclus and Orbitoides/Lepidorbitoides) and the distinctive Siderolites are associated with these sea grass fossils and are suggestive of modern sea grass communities of sub-tropical areas. The presence of sea grass fossils and their associated benthic foraminifera is indicative of a clear, shallow-water seaway, with a maximum depth of 15-20 m. The reported variations in sea level during the latest Cretaceous cannot, therefore, have been very large as such a change in water depth would have been quite disastrous to such a fragile ecosystem. The fossil record of sea grasses in the Cenozoic is relatively limited, though there are some assemblages of benthic foraminifera that are suggestive of their presence, despite the lack of plant fossils.