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Benthic foraminifers as a proxy of the range of the tidal wave in the Oyambre Estuary (Cantabria, Spain)



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Pascual, A. and Martínez-García, Blanca and Mendicoa, J. (2019) Benthic foraminifers as a proxy of the range of the tidal wave in the Oyambre Estuary (Cantabria, Spain). Continental Shelf Research, 176 . pp. 1-18. ISSN ISSN: 0278-4343, ESSN: 1873-6955

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027843431830431X


Recent benthic foraminifers from the Oyambre estuary (north of Spain) have been studied in order to learn their biological response to drastic anthropic environmental changes that this estuary has undergone within the last centuries. Up to 41 species have been identified and 24 of them showed live specimens during the sampling period. The most abundant species are Ammonia tepida, Balticammina pseudomacrescens, Cribroelphidium williamsoni, Entzia macrescens, Haynesina germanica, Cibicidoides lobatulus, Miliammina fusca and Trochammina inflata. The statistical analysis (cluster and correspondence analysis) has allowed the differentiation of four groups of samples that are characterized by three assemblages that define the following environments: sandy outer estuary with marine influence (C. lobatulus), mid and inner estuary that comprises an euryhaline subtidal environment with silty sediment (A. tepida and H. germanica), intertidal channels with the lowest salinity levels (C. williamsoni), and marshes (B. pseudomacrescens, E. macrescens, M. fusca and T. inflata).

The great number of species with agglutinated shells reveals the ongoing draining in mud-flat areas, as well as the establishment of the vegetated high marsh, where the invasive exotic plant Baccharis halimifolia is removing the reed bed ecosystem and filling, blocking and reducing main and secondary channels. As a result, there is hardly any sandy low marsh left, which in other nearby estuaries of Cantabria is delimited by the species M. fusca. Thus, areas with tidal levels between MHWNT (Mean High Water Neap Tide) and MHW (Mean High Waters) are scarce. However, foraminifer species that live in the high marsh above MHW are dominant. Entzia macrescens and T. inflata mark the interval between MHW and MHWST (Mean High Water Spring Tide), while B. pseudomacrescens the one from MHSWST to the barren zone (vegetated high marshes, closest to land).

A comparison between the biocoenosis and thanatocoenosis assemblages generally shows a good similarity (Sanders’ index > 60%). The few samples with a low similarity reveal the effect of post-mortem processes, specially decantation, and, to a lesser extent, suspended transport, which once again points to the lack of hydrodynamism in the estuary. The percentage of exotic or allochthonous species that are deposited in this estuary is very low (the average ranges from 13.4% in the mouth to 0.7% in the inner area), which reveals that the Oyambre estuary has a mesotidal character in its mouth, while in the mid and inner area it can be considered a microtidal estuary. All these data expose that the works conducted in order to recover the Oyambre estuary between years 2009 and 2010 seem not to have been successful in restoring the marshes to their original hydrodynamic conditions.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Benthic foraminifers,Ecology, Anthropogenic interventions, Tidal levels, Estuary, S Bay of Biscay
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
Sciences > Geology > Hidrology
Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
ID Code:51738
Deposited On:05 Mar 2019 18:48
Last Modified:06 Mar 2019 09:18

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