The present study shows the preliminary micropaleontological results carried out on grab and box corer samples collected during the Eurofleet marine geological survey in the Terceira offshore (Azores Archipelago, Portugal) occurred in September 2011. A main WNW-ESE oriented fissural eruptive zone crosses the Terceira Island extending down to the sea, along the Serreta Ridge. An intermediate-depth submarine eruption occurred in 1998-2001 producing a consistent amount of volcanic materials scattered around the vent. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages were studied in order to obtain an ecological characterization of sea-floor and water masses in natural stressed environments like volcanic area of the Azores Islands, after the last volcanic eruption. The samples collected in a bathymetrical interval ranging between 260 and 410 m water depth, are constituted of blackish, sand-sized glass shards, in which highly vesicular to scoriaceous clasts prevail on fluidal striated fragments. All samples were stained with Rose Bengal to distinguish living and dead assemblages. Diversity index (α-Fisher index), Faunal density and Foraminiferal Abnormality Index (FAI) were calculated to define the structure of the assemblage and the degree of environmental stress. The preliminary results show that the living taxa number ranges from 18 to 43 while the α-Fisher index shows constant values around 15-16. The living benthic assemblage is dominated by deep infaunal species like Angulogerina angulosa, and Bolivina spp. Angulogerina angulosa is considered in some cases epifaunal and in other ones infaunal species. In this study, the record of living specimens of A. angulosa along the whole box-corer, almost until 10 cm depth, suggests a certain capability of this taxon to migrate into the bottom sediments. Subordinately, epifaunal (Lenticulina spp., Eherenbergina bradyi, Stomatorbina concentrica, Quinqueloculina seminulum) and agglutinated (Aplophragmoides canariensis, Ammoglobigerina globigeriniformis, Spiroplectinella wrightii, Textularia spp., Eggerelloides scabrus) species are recorded too. Significant frequencies of specimens, showing signs of decalcification of the tests, were found. Similar test alterations, due to hydrothermal fluids, were recorded in foraminiferal specimens coming from other volcanic bottoms (Aeolian Arc, Tyrrhenian Sea).The dominance of living and dead A. angulosa specimens allows to consider this species as opportunistic pioneer taxon able to colonize stressed environments. In fact, the highest values of FAI (>2), recorded in the most samples, indicate a persisting environmental stress due to the occurrence of repeated volcanic events. Angulogerina angulosa and Bolivina spp. are the species showing more abundant deformed specimens. The test abnormalities consist mainly of irregular development of chambers and aberrant tests.
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|Titolo:||Response of benthic foraminifera to natural stress: a case-study from the active volcanic area of Azores Islands|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04c Atto di convegno in rivista|