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Spatial Dispersion of Benthic Foraminifera in the Abyssal Central North Pacific

Brock B. Bernstein, Robert R. Hessler, Robert Smith and Peter A. Jumars
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 23, No. 3 (May, 1978), pp. 401-416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2835450
Page Count: 16
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Spatial Dispersion of Benthic Foraminifera in the Abyssal Central North Pacific
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Abstract

Five 0.25-m2 box cores (four open cores and one vegematic core subdivided in situ into 25 contiguous 10- × 10-cm subcores) reveal that populations of benthic agglutinated Foraminifera in the central North Pacific are extremely abundant and diverse. As many as 120 species and 10,310 total fragments occur in a single open core, and the Foraminifera outnumber all metazoan taxa combined by at least an order of magnitude. Significant patchiness occurs on both the between-core scale of kilometers and the within-core scale of centimeters. Few species occurred in all cores and those that did were not abundant. Hierarchical classification and multiple discriminant analysis on the resultant subcore groups in the vegematic core suggest potential interactions between certain species of Foraminifera and such external variables as surface deposit feeders, subsurface deposit feeders, carnivores, filter feeders, biogenetic surface structure, and manganese nodules. Multiple regressions of foraminiferan species against all the external variables substantiate the existence of patterns of association. Foraminifera are important components of the benthic fauna, acting, among other things, as predators and disturbance agents. It may well be that they have a more significant effect on the structure and dynamics of deep-sea benthic communities than have any of the metazoan macrofaunal taxa that are the usual objects of deep-sea studies.

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