Ph Defense


"Development of a biotic index based on benthic foraminifera; application in the French Mediterranean coastal waters"

11th september at 14 p.m. - Amphitheatre L005 of the Sciences Faculty, University of Angers.


Abstract: Coastal environments suffer from anthropogenic activities. Various types of pressure can have large impacts on benthic ecosystems. In Europe, international regulations, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD), have been implemented. The WFD aims to attain and sustain a good ecological status for all coastal waters, up to one mile from the coast. To verify whether this good status has been reached, adapted and efficient measuring tools are needed. The use of biotic indices based on foraminiferal faunas are a mean to assess the ecosystem status. The use of indices based on foraminiferal faunas rapidly increases, especially in the Mediterranean. In terms of methodology, we were able to improve a method to concentrate benthic foraminifera by density separation, which accelerates the sample treatment. The TSI-Med index includes a correction to take into account the natural trophic state, i.e., the natural enrichment rate in organic matter, on the basis of sediment grain size. However, our data suggest that the applied correction is still insufficient. We also compared several biotic indices based on benthic foraminiferal faunas along the French Mediterranean coast. Indices based on diversity, such as the exp(H’bc), are not suited for our oligotrophic study area. The results of three tested indices based on ecological groups (TSI-Med, Foram-AMBI, FSI) are well correlated. The main factor inducing differences between the indices is the list of ecological assignments for the various species. In general, too many species have not yet been assigned to ecological categories and the assignment of several major species is problematic. Nevertheless, we show that the indices are already efficient in detecting the impact of diffusive organic matter enrichment or enrichment from point sources, such as sewage outlets (Israelian coast). To further perfection the foraminiferal indices, the efforts of ecological assignments of species have to be continued.


Jury members: Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Peter Frenzel, Elisabeth Alve, Céline Labrune, Emmanuelle Geslin, Frans Jorissen, Christine Barras