The effect of thermal pollution on benthic foraminiferal assemblages in the Mediterranean shoreface adjacent to Hadera power plant (Israel)

Ruthie Nina Arieli, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Sigal Abramovich, Barak Herut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The thermal pollution patch of Hadera power plant was used as a natural laboratory to evaluate the potential long-term effects of rise in Eastern Mediterranean SST on living benthic foraminifera. Their sensitivity to environmental changes makes foraminifera ideal for this study. Ten monthly sampling campaigns were performed in four stations located along a temperature gradient up to 10 °C from the discharge site of heated seawater to a control station. The SST along this transect varied between 25/18 °C in winter and 36/31 °C in summer. A significant negative correlation was found between SST in all stations and benthic foraminiferal abundance, species richness and diversity. The total foraminiferal abundance and species richness was particularly low at the thermally polluted stations especially during summer when SST exceeded 30 °C, but also throughout the entire year. This indicates that thermal pollution has a detrimental effect on benthic foraminifera, irrelevant to the natural seasonal changes in SST.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1012
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the technical help of M. Kitin from the GSI, and Gily Markado, from BGU for their assistance in field work. Alvaro Israel from IOLR is thanked for identifying the macroalgae that were collected from the sampling stations and Ofer Ovadia from BGU for helping in the statistical analysis. This study represents part of the M.Sc. thesis of the senior author at the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben Gurion University of the Negev carried out in collaboration with the GSI and IOLR. We acknowledge funding by Grant No. 038-17-27 of the Earth Sciences Board, Ministry of National Infrastructures . Editor C. Sheppard and reviewer G. Schmiedl are thanked for suggestions resulting in a significantly improved manuscript.


  • East Mediterranean
  • Living benthic foraminifera
  • SST
  • Species richness
  • Thermal pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography


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