Calcareous benthic foraminifera from the upper central Peruvian margin: control of the assemblage by pore water redox and sedimentary organic matter

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Ampuero, JL
Calderon, NZ
La Rosa-Toro, A
Pujada, BR
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We studied 'living' (stained) benthic foraminifera in the upper border of the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) to determine the relationship between species' distribution and pore water and sediment geochemistry under oxygen deficiency. Superficial sediments were sampled between 2009 and 2011 from 2 bathymetric transects off central Peru (45 to 300 m depth). The quantity (total organic carbon, total nitrogen and chloroplastic pigment equivalents [CPE]) and quality (chlorophyll a/phaeopigments ratio) of organic matter (OM) were evaluated. Benthic foraminifera were sampled in the top 5 cm of sediment. Commonly, the inner shelf sediments were sulfidic and labile OM-rich, whereas the outer shelf and upper slope sediments exhibited postoxic conditions (e.g. anoxic and non-sulfidic) with less labile OM, typical of OMZ core sediments. Mixed conditions were found in shelf sediment samples from April 2010, when the effects of El Niño 2009/2010 were withdrawing. Foraminiferal assemblages exhibited differences according to redox conditions and OM quality, and were concentrated in the topmost sediment. A canonical correspondence analysis and non-parametric correlations indicated that Bolivina costata, Nonionella auris and Virgulinella fragilis were characteristic of sulfidic/labile OM sediments, thriving slightly deeper in the sediment. In contrast, Bolivina pacifica headed the assemblage representative of postoxia/less labile OM. Bolivina seminuda and Buliminella tenuata (both dominant under postoxia) were not associated with any specific measured parameter, although were present in sulfidic sediments, suggesting other factors were involved in their distribution.
The research was granted by the ‘Cátedra CONCYTEC en Ciencias del Mar’, sponsored by the Peruvian National Council of Science and Technology and the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Master Program of Marine Sciences, and by the Peruvian Marine Research Institute (IMARPE) project INIOX. It was also supported by collaborative projects between the Institut de la Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and IMARPE: LMI DISCOH and Chaire Croisée PROSUR.
Palabras clave
sediment geochemistry under oxygen, benthic foraminifera, chloroplastic pigment