Larger foraminifera of the southeastern Mediterranean shallow continental shelf off Israel

Orit Hyams, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Chaim Benjamini

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51 Scopus citations


Larger foraminifera were once common throughout the Tethys, but are rare in the post-Miocene Mediterranean. In the course of a general study on distribution of benthic foraminifera in the shallow (to 40 m) continental shelf of Israel, we report here on the presence of ten species of larger foraminifera: Amphistegina lessonii, Amphistegina lobifera, Borelis sp., Coscinospira hemprichii. Heterostegina depressa, Penetroplis antillarum, Peneroplis pertusus. Peneroplis planatus. Sorites orbiculus, and Vertebralina striata. Eight of these species are long known to inhabit tropical/ subtropical shallow water habitats and have algal endosymbionts, while two are included because of their large size and occurrence in the same assemblage with the other forms. Larger foraminifera are common in sediments with a hard substrate with high carbonate content, and their occurrence correlates with warm winter temperatures, extreme oligotrophy, and deep light penetration. Their presence in the Mediterranean can be attributed to migration from the Atlantic during warm periods of the Pleistocene or Holocene, modern migration from the Atlantic, or modern (Lessepsian) migration from the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. Their survival as viable populations in recent sediments may reflect global warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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