8th International Nannoplankton Association Conference


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Sebastian Meier, Dorothea Janofske, Helmut Willems:
Previously undescribed calcareous dinoflagellates from the Mediterranean Sea: aspects of morphology and ecology

Calcareous dinoflagellate cysts can be used as proxies for palaeoecological reconstructions in the Late Quaternary. In general, five characteristic species for subtropical and tropical regions of the oceans are well studied for their ecological preferences. In contrast, recent associations of calcareous dinoflagellates in the Mediterranean Sea contain so-far-unknown species, which have to be described and studied for their ecology before they can be used as indicators for past living conditions. Therefore, sediment and water samples from the cruise M40/4 of the German RV Meteor have been studied quantitatively for their cyst content. Five main morphological criteria are used to distinguish the cysts: crystallographic orientation of the calcite crystals in the cyst wall, size and shape of the archaeopyle, the presence of a paratabulation, the shape of the cyst and the morphology of the crystals forming the wall. In total, 15 species (six previously undescribed) can be distinguished in the sediment samples by these characteristics, with species being typical for the western or the eastern Mediterranean Sea, as well as for neritic or oceanic environments. By comparing these distribution patterns with oceanographical parameters and the cyst distribution in the upper water-column, the ecological relevance of different species can be obtained. This study forms the basis for climatic reconstructions using calcareous dinoflagellates in the Mediterranean Sea.


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 [Division of Micropalaeontology] [Department of Geosciences] [Bremen University]

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