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Title: Characterization of bottom hydrodynamic conditions on the central western Portuguese continental shelf based on benthic foraminifera and sedimentary parameters
Author: Alves Martins, Maria Virgínia
Quintino, Victor
Tentúgal, Rita Marques
Frontalini, Fabrizio
Miranda, Paulo
Mattos Laut, Lazaro Luiz
Martins, Roberto
Rodrigues, Ana Maria
Keywords: Benthic foraminifera
Continental shelf
Sediment grain size
Tagus and Sado rivers
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Dead benthic foraminiferal assemblages from the central western Portuguese continental shelf have been studied to identify the prevalent oceanographic processes in the study area. Sediment samples collected at 46 stations along transepts perpendicular to the coastal line, between the latitudes of 38-40 degrees N and 17-190 m water depth, in April/May 2008, were analysed for selected physicochemical parameters (temperature, redox potential), grain size, organic matter content, and benthic foraminifera. Statistical analysis identified two main groups of stations, the Inshore/Offshore groups, which are not only defined by their geographical positions, but easily distinguishable by different hydrodynamic conditions. The Offshore Group is mainly represented by deeper stations characterized by a higher percentage of fines and TOM, negative values of redox potential and by the higher foraminiferal density and species diversity than the Inshore one. Foraminiferal assemblages of the Offshore Group are dominated/represented by species (such as Cassidulina laevigata/Cassidulina carinata, Bolivina spathulata, Bolivina ordinaria, Globo-cassidulina minuta, Bulimina elongata/Bulimina gibba and Bulimina marginata) common in areas with significant concentrations of organic matter. The benthic foraminiferal assemblages of the Inshore Group are instead characterized by epifaunal species such as Lobatula lobatula, Cibicides ungerianus, Planorbulina mediterranensis, Gavelinopsis praegeri and Quinqueloculina seminula. Both the sedimentary and foraminiferal results suggest that this group of stations is subjected to stronger bottom hydrodynamic conditions, caused by waves and swell activity and coastal currents, than the Offshore Group. Bray-Curtis similarity comparison between the stations of both groups reveals that the Offshore Group has a higher internal similarity than the Inshore Group. These differences seem to stem from topographic forcing, from the presence of rocky outcrops, from canyons and capes, from the distribution of rivers and from the magnitude of their discharges, which determine specific hydrodynamic features and differences in the sedimentary deposits and biological productivity. The influence of the Tagus river (supply of fresh water, detritus and organic matter from continental sources), the presence of canyons and capes, which leave the most important imprint on the study area, are marked by changes in the foraminiferal assemblages both in the Inshore and Offshore groups.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.06.006
ISSN: 0141-1136
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