The environmental variables that influence the abundance and biodiversity of foraminifera in shallow-water settings are poorly understood. In order to help address this problem, we investigated abundance, biomass and biodiversity of living (as Rose-Bengal stained) benthic foraminifera together with the quantity and biochemical composition (in terms of phytopigment, protein, lipid, carbohydrate and biopolymeric carbon) of the organic matter in coastal sediments of the Central Adriatic Sea. Sediment samples were collected in the Portonovo Bay in May, July and October 2008 and February 2009, and the organic matter quantity and biochemical composition and benthic foraminiferal abundance and assemblage composition were analysed in the top 1 cm. Uni- and multi-variate analyses of variance revealed clear temporal variability of all the investigated variables as well as relationships between the composition of the foraminiferal assemblages and the quantity and quality of the food sources. The foraminiferal abundance and species composition changed significantly between the four sampling periods, reflecting the temporal (seasonal) variability in the quantity and nutritional quality of the food sources. Lipids, among all other organic compounds, explain significant portions of the variance of both foraminiferal abundance and biomass. In winter, a strong phytoplankton bloom led to an increased quantity of nutritionally available organic matter on the sea floor, which in turn was associated with a bloom of Leptohalysis scottii and Psammophaga sp. 1. These two foraminiferal species thus displayed an opportunistic behaviour in response to the pulse of organic carbon of high nutritional quality. We suggest that these species can be used as indicators of benthic eutrophication in shallow waters.
Foraminiferal assemblages and trophic state in coastal sediments of the Adriatic Sea / Sabbatini, Anna; S., Bonatto; Bianchelli, Silvia; A., Pusceddu; Danovaro, Roberto; Negri, Alessandra. - In: JOURNAL OF MARINE SYSTEMS. - ISSN 0924-7963. - STAMPA. - 105:(2012), pp. 163-174. [10.1016/j.jmarsys.2012.07.009]