Bathymetric zonation of modern shelf benthic foraminifera in the Levantine Basin, eastern Mediterranean Sea

Simona Avnaim-Katav, Orit Hyams-Kaphzan, Yvonne Milker, Ahuva Almogi-Labin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Siliciclastic carbonate-poor sediments are common in southern and central parts of the inner Israeli shelf, part of the Nile littoral cell and in deeper water along the entire coast, while carbonate rich sediments occur in northern Israel and in submerged rocky environments. The distribution of benthic foraminifera, common components of these environments, was studied in surface sediment samples in order to identify their bathymetric zonation using multivariate statistical analyses. The dead foraminiferal assemblages exhibit a clear bathymetric zonation directly related to substrate type. A distinct faunal change has been found at approximately 40. m water depth coinciding with the shift from the shallow-water sand belt, distributed parallel to the Israeli coast up to Haifa Bay, to a silty-clayey belt relatively rich with organic matter extending westward along the entire SE Mediterranean shelf. Ammonia parkinsoniana, Ammonia sp. 1, Buccella granulata, Nubeculina divaricata and Adelosina sp. 1 predominating the shallow-water depths are positively related to sand content and negatively related to water depth. Other species, such as Asterigerinata mamilla, Hanzawaia rhodiensis, Reussella spinulosa, Triloculina marioni and Valvulineria bradyana, occurring between 40 and 100. m, exhibit a positive relationship with total organic carbon content and water depth. Beyond the Nile littoral cell and partly in its distal part Amphistegina lessonii, Peneroplis pertusus, Pseudoschlumbergerina ovata, Pseudoschlumbergerina sp. 1 and Quinqueloculina ungeriana dominate the rocky and coarse sand substrate, exhibiting a more positive relationship with higher carbonate content values. The distinct bathymetric zonation established in this study may prove to be useful in fossil records for accurate paleo-bathymetry reconstruction of Quaternary records in this dynamic system prone to frequent sea level fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sea Research
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bathymetric Zonation
  • Benthic Foraminifera
  • Inner Shelf
  • Redundancy Analysis
  • Southeastern Mediterranean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Bathymetric zonation of modern shelf benthic foraminifera in the Levantine Basin, eastern Mediterranean Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this