Benthic Foraminiferal Communities of a Barrier-Lagoon System, Virginia, U.S.A.
Keywords:Environmental quality, marsh
Foraminifera have a fundamental role in the trophic structure of marine communities and may be used to assess primary stresses affecting environmental quality. In coastal barrier lagoons their distribution can provide a framework for future assessment of environmental quality. To establish a baseline for the barrier-lagoon system of the southern Delmarva Peninsula, 20 subenvironments were sampled and proved to contain 44 species of living benthic foraminifera. Densities of species were related to variations in substratum, salinity and organic-matter content. Not all of the 20 subenvironments could be recognised based on variations in foraminiferal community composition; only seven subenvironments were distinguished on the basis of the distribution of dominant living species. Foraminiferal community composition appeared to be closely tied to the natural variations of physical stresses produced by the interrelationship of landscape and flow dynamics.