Articles | Volume 36, issue 2
05 Apr 2017
 | 05 Apr 2017

Modern deep-water agglutinated foraminifera from IODP Expedition 323, Bering Sea: ecological and taxonomic implications

Sev Kender and Michael A. Kaminski

Keywords: deep-water agglutinated foraminifera, Bering Sea, modern ecology, productivity, oxygen minimum zone

Abstract. Despite the importance of the Bering Sea for subarctic oceanography and climate, relatively little is known of the foraminifera from the extensive Aleutian Basin. We report the occurrence of modern deep-water agglutinated foraminifera collected at seven sites cored during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 323 in the Bering Sea. Assemblages collected from core-top samples contained 32 genera and 50 species and are described and illustrated here for the first time. Commonly occurring species include typical deep-water Rhizammina, Reophax, Rhabdammina, Recurvoides and Nodulina. Assemblages from the northern sites also consist of accessory Cyclammina, Eggerelloides and Glaphyrammina, whilst those of the Bowers Ridge sites consist of other tubular genera and Martinottiella. Of the studied stations with the lowest dissolved oxygen concentrations, the potentially Bering Sea endemic Eggerelloides sp. 1 inhabits the northern slope, which has the highest primary productivity, and the potentially endemic Martinottiella sp. 3 inhabits Bowers Ridge, which has the lowest oxygen concentrations but relatively low annual productivity. Martinottiella sp. 3, with open pores on its test surface, has previously been reported in Pliocene to Recent material from Bowers Ridge. Despite relatively small sample sizes, ecological constraints may imply that the Bering Sea experienced high productivity and reduced oxygen at times since at least the Pliocene. We note the partially endemic nature of the agglutinated foraminiferal assemblages, which may at least in part be due to basin restriction, the geologically long time period of reduced oxygen, and high organic carbon flux. Our results indicate the importance of gathering further surface sample data from the Aleutian Basin.