Benthic foraminifera from the Southeastern Mediterranean shelf: Dead assemblages and living-dead comparisons recording consequences of Nile River damming

Simona Avnaim-Katav, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Barak Herut, Mor Kanari, Tamar Guy-Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the role of the Nile River damming in shaping the recent benthic ecology in the southeastern Levantine (SL) Basin, the saltiest, hottest and the most oligotrophic basin within the Mediterranean Sea. The spatial distribution and diversity patterns of dead benthic foraminiferal (BF) faunas from the SL shelf were analyzed at 59 stations (40–100 water depths) sampled in August 2011 off the Israeli coast. Distinct dead BF assemblages were determined using multivariate statistical analyses, reflecting ecological preferences and their association with different environmental settings. The dead BF assemblages investigated in the current study were significantly different from the living BF assemblages explored in a previous study at the same stations. Ongoing human activity may explain these discrepancies, especially in the middle shelf, where continuous grain size coarsening, increase in carbonate content and decrease in TOC have occurred since the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River. These changes comprise (I) modest but clear changes in the lateral distribution of the biotopes, including continuous southward retreat of the southern middle shelf Nilotic biotope, and appearance of more fragmented, small biotopes due to the reduced impact of the Nile littoral cell; (II) dissimilarities in assemblage composition with higher numbers of opportunistic species occurring in the dead assemblages and increasing densities of sensitive taxa in the living assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101977
JournalMarine Micropaleontology
Volume164
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was carried out with the support of the Ministry of Energy, Isreal Grant (no. 014-06-211 ) to AAL and BH within the project “Research and Monitoring the Israeli Mediterranean continental shelf as a base for sustainable decisions on marine infrastructures”. We gratefully acknowledge the Israeli Ministries of Environmental Protection and Energy for partial support in frame of the National Monitoring Program of Israel's Mediterranean coastal waters. We thank John Hall for the constructive suggestions regarding the sampling design and the crew of the R/V Shikmona (IOLR), for their devoted work during the sampling campaign. Thanks are due to Yoav Ben-Dor and Gloria Lopez for technical assistance in sample collection. Michael Kitin, Ruth Binstock, Stephen Abrahams, Hadar Elyashiv, Gideon Tibor, Lana Ashkar from the GSI and IOLR, are highly appreciated for the different analyses carried on during this project. Editor Xavier Crosta and the two anonymous reviewers are deeply appreciated for their constructive comments and suggestions resulting in a significantly improved manuscript.

Funding Information:
This study was carried out with the support of the Ministry of Energy, Isreal Grant (no. 014-06-211) to AAL and BH within the project ?Research and Monitoring the Israeli Mediterranean continental shelf as a base for sustainable decisions on marine infrastructures?. We gratefully acknowledge the Israeli Ministries of Environmental Protection and Energy for partial support in frame of the National Monitoring Program of Israel's Mediterranean coastal waters. We thank John Hall for the constructive suggestions regarding the sampling design and the crew of the R/V Shikmona (IOLR), for their devoted work during the sampling campaign. Thanks are due to Yoav Ben-Dor and Gloria Lopez for technical assistance in sample collection. Michael Kitin, Ruth Binstock, Stephen Abrahams, Hadar Elyashiv, Gideon Tibor, Lana Ashkar from the GSI and IOLR, are highly appreciated for the different analyses carried on during this project. Editor Xavier Crosta and the two anonymous reviewers are deeply appreciated for their constructive comments and suggestions resulting in a significantly improved manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Dead and living benthic foraminifera
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Ecological indicators
  • Nile River damming
  • Southeastern Levantine shelf
  • Taphonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Paleontology

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