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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 437 - Feature article
Parent and propagules (numerous small juveniles) of the foraminifer Allogromia sp. on a mat of cyanobacterial filaments. Image: Susan T. Goldstein

Goldstein ST, Alve E


Experimental assembly of foraminiferal ­communities from coastal propagule banks


Reproduction in foraminifera produces numerous small juveniles (propagules) which disperse and persist as a bank of tiny individuals in the fine sediment fraction of many marine systems; these propagules grow to maturity when exposed to appropriate conditions. Using just fine sediments (<53 µm), Goldstein and Alve grew assemblages of foraminifera under controlled experimental conditions—various combinations of temperature, salinity, and site (exposed versus protected)—to assess the dynamics of individual propagule banks. Species of foraminifera respond differently to environmental conditions, and distinct assemblages therefore grow from the same propagule bank under different regimes. This study provides a novel experimental tool for examining the responses of both individual taxa and multi-species assemblages to environmental conditions, and for studying dispersal in foraminifera.


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