Dinoflagellate cysts and benthic foraminifera from surface sediments of Svalbard fjords and shelves as paleoenvironmental indicators

Type Article
Date 2023-10
Language English
Author(s) Telesiński Maciej M.ORCID1, Pospelova VeraORCID2, Mertens KennethORCID3, Kucharska MałgorzataORCID1, Zajączkowski MarekORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland
2 : University of Minnesota, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Science & Engineering, Minneapolis, USA
3 : LITTORAL, Ifremer, Concarneau, France
Source Oceanologia (0078-3234) (Elsevier BV), 2023-10 , Vol. 65 , N. 4 , P. 571-594
DOI 10.1016/j.oceano.2023.06.007
Keyword(s) North Atlantic, Nordic Seas, Sea ice, Primary productivity, Fjords, Sediments, Chlorophyll-a

Due to the Arctic amplification effect, the Svalbard archipelago is an important area for studying ongoing environmental changes. However, its marine ecosystem is extremely complex. In this study, we analyze modern assemblages of dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) and benthic foraminifera from surface sediment samples around Svalbard. We use multivariate statistical analyses to examine relationships between environmental conditions (summer and winter sea surface temperature and salinity, sea-ice cover, etc.) and both microfossil groups to evaluate their use as proxies for reconstructions of the marine environment in the region. Our results show that the most important factor controlling the environment around Svalbard is the Atlantic Water which mostly impacts the western coast, but its influence reaches as far as the eastern coast of Nordaustlandet. However, on a local scale, such factors as the sea-ice cover, the presence of tidewater glaciers, or even the morphology and hydrology of fjords become increasingly important. We found that two dinocyst species, cysts of Polarella glacialis and Echinidinium karaense, can be considered regional winter drift ice indicators. The relationships between environmental parameters and benthic foraminiferal assemblages are much more difficult to interpret. Although statistical analysis shows a correlation of benthic foraminiferal species with various environmental parameters, this correlation might be somewhat coincidental and caused by other factors not analyzed in this study. Nevertheless, the use of two complementary microfossil groups as (paleo)environmental indicators can provide a more comprehensive picture of the environmental conditions.

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