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Benthic foraminifera assemblages as elemental pollution bioindicator in marine sediments around fish farm (Vrgada Island, Central Adriatic, Croatia)

May 13, 2014

Effects on sediments of fish farming activity near Vrgada Island was analysed through living and total foraminiferal assemblages and concentration of major, minor and trace elements from three sediment cores. Elemental concentrations of sediments are in accordance with carbonate characteristics of the surrounding area and show mostly natural element variations between sampling locations and throughout the cores, with no significant increases due to fish farming activity. Only phosphorus concentration shows elevate values below the fish cage, assigned to fish pellets.

Foraminiferal communities are dominated by epifaunal and stress tolerant species, while diversity indices point to normal marine conditions. The type of substrate and phosphorus content in sediments principally influence foraminiferal community composition, while other elemental concentrations have no perceptible effect on the assemblages. Some foraminiferal species AmmoniatepidaAmmoniabeccariiElphidiumcrispumElphidiummacellum and genus Haynesinaare confirmed to be tolerant to elevated nutrient (phosphorus) content, while Ammonia parkinsonianashows sensitivity to pollution. Postmortem processes cause decrease of foraminiferal density and species richness with core depth. All results point to negligible influence of fish farming and relatively stable environmental conditions at all sampling locations.

Vidović J, Dolenec M, Dolenec T, Karamarko V, Žvab Rožič P,  in press: Benthic foraminifera assemblages as elemental pollution bioindicator in marine sediments around fish farm (Vrgada Island, Central Adriatic, Croatia), Marine Pollution Bulletin, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.03.051. Article (subscription required).

 

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