Ponomarenko, E., Krechik, V., Dorokhova, E.
Environmental factors affecting recent benthic foraminiferal distribution in the south-eastern Baltic SeaAbstract The Baltic Sea is characterized by a restricted exchange of deep waters due to permanent stratification of the water column. The aim of the present study is to investigate the distribution of benthic foraminifera in the south-eastern part of the Baltic Sea in relation to environmental parameters. The distribution of benthic foraminifera was analyzed in 26 surface sediment samples collected in the south-eastern part of the Baltic Sea and in the Bornholm Basin during springtime and wintertime 2016. Foraminiferal diversity in the studied region was extremely low. Agglutinated specimens dominated the assemblages and were represented by small-sized individuals which belong to Psammosphaera, Pseudothurammina, Saccammina, and Reophax genera. Calcareous foraminifera were dominated by Cribroelphidium genus. Micropaleontological data were compared to the environmental parameters characterizing bottom water (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen content) and substrate conditions (grain size composition and total organic carbon content). Higher foraminiferal concentrations and diversity were found in deeper parts of the study region where fine-grained sediments with a higher total organic carbon content were accumulated under stable hydrographical conditions. Calcareous tests were found only at the stations with elevated salinity, indicating that bottom water salinity is the main factor limiting the distribution of calcareous foraminifera. On the other hand, substrate parameters and hydrodynamic conditions appear to play a major role in the distribution of agglutinated foraminifera.