Developing Foram-AMBI for biomonitoring in the Mediterranean: Species assignments to ecological categories

Frans Jorissen, Maria Pia Nardelli, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Christine Barras, Luisa Bergamin, Erica Bicchi, Akram El Kateb, Luciana Ferraro, Mary McGann, Caterina Morigi, Elena Romano, Anna Sabbatini, Magali Schweizer, Silvia Spezzaferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Most environmental bio-monitoring methods using the species composition of marine faunas define the Ecological Quality Status of soft bottom ecosystems based on the relative proportions of species assigned to a limited number of ecological categories. In this study we analyse the distribution patterns of benthic foraminifera in the Mediterranean as a function of organic carbon gradients on the basis of 15 publications and assign the individual species to five ecological categories. Our categories (of sensitive, indifferent and 3rd, 2nd and 1st order opportunists) are very similar to the ecological categories commonly used for macrofauna, but show some minor differences. In the 15 analysed publications, we considered the numerical data of 493 taxa, of which 199 could be assigned. In all 79 taxa were classified as sensitive, 60 as indifferent, 46 as 3rd order, 12 as 2nd order and 2 as 1st order opportunists. The remaining 294 taxa are all accessory, and will only marginally contribute to biotic indices based on relative species proportions. In this paper we wanted also to explain the methodology we used for these species assignments, paying particular attention to all complications and problems encountered. We think that the species list proposed here will constitute a highly useful tool for foraminiferal bio-monitoring of soft bottoms in the Mediterranean Sea, which can be used in different ecological indices (Foram-AMBI and similar methods). With additional information becoming available in the next few years, it will be possible to expand the list, and, if necessary, to apply some minor corrections. As a next step, we intend to test this species list using several biotic indices, in a number of independent data sets, as soon as these will become available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Micropaleontology
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Benthic foraminifera
  • Bio-monitoring
  • Foram-AMBI
  • Mediterranean


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