Distribution and microhabitats of living (stained) benthic foraminifera from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
The geographic distribution of live (Rose Bengal stained) foraminifera from box cores taken in the Canadian Archipelago shows a dominance of agglutinated species in the western study area and an abundance of calcareous forms in the east. This distribution is attributed to the presence of differing water masses. The western channels are shallow and permit entrance only of the Arctic water mass whereas the eastern channels allow passage of the more saline and warmer Atlantic water mass. In habitat depth, both calcareous and agglutinated species exhibit highly variable vertical faunal distributions. Of the 6 cores studied, the depth above which 95% of the individuals occur ranges from 2.5 to 13 cm. Species microhabitat preference between localities also was found to be variable. Several factors are suggested to contribute to this variability. The cores were taken in shallow-water environments where physical and chemical conditions are less stable. Seasonal differences in ice cover affects productivity and thus the amount of food reaching the benthos. Sedimentation rates also are affected by differences in ice cover. Both of these factors control the rate of food burial which in turn must influence species vertical distribution patterns and microhabitat preferences. Although it has not been investigated, the role played by benthos in modifying sediment texture and in oxygenating subsurface layers may be an additional factor contributing to the variability observed in this study. © 1993.
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