Articles | Volume 37, issue 2
Research article
11 Oct 2018
Research article |  | 11 Oct 2018

A review of the ecological affinities of marine organic microfossils from a Holocene record offshore of Adélie Land (East Antarctica)

Julian D. Hartman, Peter K. Bijl, and Francesca Sangiorgi

Abstract. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 318 recovered a  ∼ 170 m long Holocene organic-rich sedimentary sequence at Site U1357. Located within the narrow but deep Adélie Basin close to the Antarctic margin, the site accumulated sediments at exceptionally high sedimentation rates, which resulted in extraordinary preservation of the organic sedimentary component. Here, we present an overview of 74 different mainly marine microfossil taxa and/or types found within the organic component of the sediment, which include the remains of unicellular and higher organisms from three eukaryotic kingdoms (Chromista, Plantae, and Animalia). These remains include phytoplanktonic (phototrophic dinoflagellates and prasinophytes) and very diverse zooplanktonic (heterotrophic dinoflagellates, tintinnids, copepods) organisms. We illustrate each marine microfossil taxon or type identified by providing morphological details and photographic images, which will help with their identification in future studies. We also review their ecological preferences to aid future (palaeo)ecological and (palaeo)environmental studies. The planktonic assemblage shows a high degree of endemism related to the strong influence of the sea-ice system over Site U1357. In addition, we found the remains of various species of detritus feeders and bottom-dwelling scavengers (benthic foraminifers and annelid worms) indicative of high export productivity at Site U1357. This study shows the potential of organic microfossil remains for reconstructing past environmental conditions, such as sea-ice cover and (export) productivity.

Short summary
We present an extensive overview of the organic microfossil remains found at Site U1357, Adélie Basin, East Antarctica. The organic microfossil remains are exceptionally well preserved and are derived from unicellular as well as higher organisms. We provide a morphological description, photographic images, and a discussion of the ecological preferences of the biological species from which the organic remains were derived.