Taxonomy, ecology and biogeographical trends of dominant benthic foraminifera species from an Atlantic-Mediterranean estuary (the Guadiana, southeast Portugal)

Sarita Graca Camacho, Delminda Maria de Jesus Moura, Simon Connor, David B Scott, Tomasz Boski

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This study analyses the taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of the species of benthic foraminifera living on the intertidal margins of the Guadiana Estuary (SE Portugal, SW Spain). Of the 54 taxa identified during sampling campaigns in winter and summer, 49 are systematically listed and illustrated by scanning electron microscope (SEM) photographs. Ammonia spp. were the most ubiquitous calcareous taxa in both seasons. Morphological analysis and SEM images suggested three distinct morphotypes of the genus Ammonia, two of which proved to be Ammonia aberdoveyensis on the basis of partial rRNA analyses. Jadammina macrescens and Miliammina fusca were the most ubiquitous agglutinated taxa in the estuary. Jadammina macrescens dominates the upper-marsh zones almost exclusively, occurring at very high densities. Ammonia spp. are the most abundant in the low-marsh and tidal-flats of the lower reaches of the Guadiana Estuary, but are widespread throughout the estuary, especially during summer when environmental conditions favor their proliferation. Miliammina fusca dominates the sparsely vegetated low-marsh and tidal-flat zones of the upper reaches, where it is associated with calcareous species. Due to its geographical position, the Guadiana system shares characteristics of both Atlantic and Mediterranean estuaries. This is reflected in the foraminiferal assemblages, with a dominance of thermophilous species and an ecological zonation typical of the Mediterranean climatic zone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalPalaeontologia Electronica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Benthic foraminifera
  • Biogeography
  • Ecological zonation
  • Genetic analysis
  • Guadiana Estuary
  • Taxonomy

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