FUMAROLES & FORAMINIFERA: CHRONICLING EFFECTS OF DECREASED PH ON BENTHIC FORAMINIFERA OF DOMINICA
Modern seafloor samples were collected at two locations within the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve: Scotts Head, representative of a typical Caribbean nearshore reef environment, and Champagne Beach, a nearshore reef within active fumaroles. Initial investigation of samples from Scotts Head, the control site with an average pH of 8.13, contain abundant benthic foraminiferal of several genera. Conversely, samples from Champagne Beach (pH at fumarole = 7.75) are essentially devoid of calcareous foraminifera and contain only fragments of broken agglutinated tests. Measurements of pH indicate that acidity varies considerably, appears to be dependent upon the presence of fumaroles, and has considerable influence on benthic foraminifera. These findings are consistent with assemblage changes described from volcanic gas vents in the Mediterranean, and suggest volcanism has significant impacts on benthic foraminiferal populations in the shallow waters of Dominica. Additionally, these localized results illustrate how ocean acidification will likely impact benthic foraminifera populations globally.