Selective responses of benthic foraminifera to thermal pollution

Danna Titelboim, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Barak Herut, Michal Kucera, Christiane Schmidt, Orit Hyams-Kaphzan, Ofer Ovadia, Sigal Abramovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Persistent thermohaline pollution at a site along the northern coast of Israel, due to power and desalination plants, is used as a natural laboratory to evaluate the effects of rising temperature and salinity levels on benthic foraminifera living in shallow hard-bottom habitats. Biomonitoring of the disturbed area and a control station shows that elevated temperature is a more significant stressor compared to salinity, thus causing a decrease in abundance and richness.Critical temperature thresholds were observed at 30 and 35 °C, the latter representing the most thermally tolerant species in the studied area Pararotalia calcariformata, which is the only symbiont-bearing species observed within the core of the heated area.Common species of the shallow hard-bottom habitats including several Lessepsian invaders are almost absent in the most exposed site indicating that excess warming will likely impede the survival of these species that currently benefit from the ongoing warming of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-336
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the technical help provided by Yaron Gartner, Erez Hagai, and Elad Israeli from the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR); we also thank Gily Merkado and Emri Brickner from BGU for their assistance in the field work. This study represents part of the M.Sc. thesis of the senior author at the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben Gurion University of the Negev carried out in collaboration with the GSI and IOLR. We acknowledge funding by the BMBF-MOST cooperation in Marine Sciences Grant No. 03F0639A and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources Grant No. 212-17-015 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Benthic foraminifera
  • Climate change
  • East Mediterranean
  • Hard-bottom habitat
  • Lessepsian invaders
  • Thermohaline pollution


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