Foraminiferal response to environmental changes in Kiel Fjord, SW Baltic Sea
12 Aug 2008
Leibniz-Institute for Marine Sciences IFM-GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1–3, 24148 Kiel, Germany
Abstract. The living benthic foraminiferal assemblages in Kiel Fjord (SW Baltic Sea) were investigated in the years 2005 and 2006. The faunal studies were accomplished by geochemical analyses of surface sediments. In general, sediment pollution by copper, zinc, tin and lead is assessed as moderate in comparison with levels reported from other areas of the Baltic Sea. However, the inner Kiel Fjord is still exposed to a high load of metals and organic matter due to enhanced accumulation of fine-grained sediments in conjunction with potential pollution sources as shipyards, harbours and intensive traffic. The results of our survey show that the dominant environmental forcing of benthic foraminifera is nutrients availability coupled with human impact. A comparison with faunal data from the 1960s reveals apparent changes in species composition and population densities. The stress-tolerant species Ammonia beccarii invaded Kiel Fjord. Ammotium cassis had disappeared that reflects apparently the changes in salinity over the last 10 years. These changes in foraminiferal community and a significant increase of test abnormalities indicate an intensified environmental stress since the 1960s.