Impact of eustatic and tectonic processes on the southeastern Mediterranean shelf during the last one million years: Quantitative reconstructions using a foraminiferal transfer function

Simona Avnaim-Katav, Yvonne Milker, Gerhard Schmiedl, Dorit Sivan, Orit Hyams-Kaphzan, Amir Sandler, Ahuva Almogi-Labin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Benthic foraminifera-based transfer function models provide accurate sea-level reconstructions for shelf and coastal environments around the world. This study presents for the first time results of a foraminiferal transfer function aiming at the reconstruction of relative sea-level in the southeastern Mediterranean shelf during the past one million years. A Weighted Averaging-Partial Least Squares (WA-PLS) regression method was used for the development of the transfer function based on an extensive set of surface samples (modern training data set) from the study area. The transfer function was applied to three shelf sediment successions retrieved from Haifa Bay, Israel. The Modern Analog Technique (MAT) and the random TF test were used to investigate similarity between modern and fossil foraminiferal faunas, testing the reliability and significance of our model for paleowater depth reconstruction. The performance of the WA-PLS transfer functions suggests a strong relationship between the observed and estimated water depths in the modern data set with relatively precise reconstructions of 7.0 m (Root Mean Squared error of Prediction) over a water depth range of 3 to 80 m. The deepest paleo water depths were reconstructed for the earliest sea-level highstands recorded in the sediment records (MIS 27? and MIS 29?) in the down-faulted boreholes due to tectonic movements, whereas the younger interglacial sedimentary units (MIS 25?, 13, 11, 7, 5.5 and 1) were mostly deposited at <. 15 m water depths or slightly deeper during MIS 7. The relative sea-level history of the southeastern Mediterranean shelf reveals deviations from the global sea-level trend during MIS 5.5, which may have resulted from minor tectonic movements in the study area and/or un-representation of the phase of maximum sea-level in the sediment succession. Our paleowater depth estimates demonstrate a shallowing trend during the Holocene, generally matching other regional Mediterranean sea-level records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Geology
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was initiated with the support of funding by grant nos. 98-17-017 (Dorit Sivan and Ahuva Almogi-Labin), no. 20-17-30 (Chaim Benjamini) and no. 25-17-048 (Amir Sandler, Ahuva Almogi- Labin and Dorit Sivan) of the Earth Sciences Board, Ministry of National Infrastructures and a Sir Maurice Hatter Research Grant of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies (RIMS), and the University of Haifa Research Authority . Editor Edward Anthony and the two anonymous reviewers are deeply appreciated for their constructive comments and suggestions resulting in a significantly improved manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Benthic foraminifera
  • Pleistocene
  • Relative sea level reconstruction
  • Southeastern Mediterranean shelf
  • Transfer function
  • Weighted averaging-partial least squares

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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