Distribution of foraminifera and ostracods in the Onkaparinga estuary, South Australia




Nash, Graham
Binnie, M.N.
Cann, JH

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd


Analysis of sediment and aquatic vegetation samples collected along the Onkaparinga estuary, South Australia, revealed the distribution patterns of benthic and epi-benthic micro-organisms, specifically foraminifera and ostracods. The total assemblage provided an assemblage 'snap shot,' contemporaneous with the environmental conditions at the time of sampling, as well as seasonally and timeaveraged distribution information. Species richness is low in the upper reaches of the estuary and favours species with a wide salinity tolerance. Observed species richness increases seawards. Species richness and abundance within species is greater where there is conspicuous aquatic vegetation. Thus, species richness and distribution appear to be related to the proximity to the sea and the provision of diverse habitable substrate. Foraminiferal species, Ammonia beccarii and Elphidium excavatum, and ostracods belonging to the genera Paracypria, Xestolebris and Leptocythere dominate the total assemblage. These species are characteristic of euryhaline conditions. The mutual maximum occurrences of Reophax barwonensis, Ammobaculites barwonensis and Trochammina inflata signify mid-estuarine conditions. In the lower regions of the estuary, the appearance of shallow marine species of foraminifera such as Elphidium crispum and Quinqueloculina poeyana, and ostracods Bairdoppilata sp., Hemicytherura spp. and Paranesidea spp. signifies interactions with the adjacent inner shelf coastal waters. Throughout the entire length of the estuary, the presence of vegetal substrate created a strong numerical bias towards live occurrences of the ostracods Paracypria sp. and Xestolebris cedunaensis. These species are potentially useful as proxies for paleoenvironmental interpretations of estuarine sediments.



Keywords: abundance; benthos; environmental conditions; estuarine ecosystem; estuarine environment; estuarine sediment; foraminifera; ostracod; salinity tolerance; spatial distribution; species occurrence; species richness; Australia; Onkaparinga River; South Austr Brackish; Estuary; Foraminifera; Onkaparinga; Ostracod; South Australia



Australian Journal of Earth Sciences


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