|Dispersal, survival and delayed growth of benthic foraminiferal propagules|In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Biogeography; Colonization; Dispersion; Dormancy; Marine
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New data support our previously published propagule dispersal hypothesis and show that propagules of some benthic foraminiferal species can survive for two years before growth commences. Following exposure to simulated shallow-water conditions, shallow-water species of benthic foraminifera appeared and grew in large numbers (commonly >100 ind/12 ml sediment) in the <32 µm-size sediment fraction collected from 320 m water depth in the Skagerrak basin (North Sea). None of the shallow-water species that grew abundantly (Planorbulina mediterranensis, Morulaeplecta bulbosa, Bolivina pseudoplicata, Cuneata arctica, Eggerelloides scaber, Gavelinopsis praegeri) seem to grow or reproduce at or in the vicinity of the sampling site. Consequently, they must have been transported there as <32 µm-sized individuals. Their sudden appearance when exposed to shallow-water conditions suggests that they had been transported to the sampling site as propagules and that they could survive in the sediments until conditions became suitable for growth and, for some, reproduction. The lack of agglutination on the proloculi of the agglutinated taxa that appeared in the growth-chambers may enhance their passive transport via currents and, thereby, dispersal. Of all the indigenous foraminiferal species that occur at the sampling site, only Textularia earlandi and Bolivinellina pseudopunctata continued to grow and reproduce when transferred from bathyal (320 m) to simulated shallow-water (0 m) conditions. The former is considered a highly opportunistic species. According to the literature, most of the morphospecies which grew in the experiments are cosmopolitan. Our results indicate substantial inter-specific differences in dispersal potential and support previous suggestions that among free-living species, some serial forms have the potential for long-distance dispersal. Still, oceanographic, physical and ecological boundaries and barriers constrain the distribution of most species. In addition to benthic foraminifera, Gromia spp. (rhizarian protists related to the foraminifera) grew in >60% of the experimental growth-chambers.