The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The niche of benthic foraminifera, critical thresholds and proxies

Murray, J.W. (2001) The niche of benthic foraminifera, critical thresholds and proxies Marine Micropaleontology, 41, (1-2), pp. 1-7. (doi:10.1016/S0377-8398(00)00057-8).

Record type: Article


Ecological studies of benthic foraminifera are carried out to explain patterns of distribution and the dynamics of communities. They are also used to provide data to establish proxy relationships with selected factors. According to niche theory, the patterns of distribution of benthic foraminifera are controlled by those environmental factors that have reached their critical thresholds. For each species, in variable environments, different factors may be limiting distributions both temporally and spatially. For a species or an assemblage to be useful as a proxy its abundance must show a strong correlation with the chosen factor. Since numerous factors influence each species, it is only in those environments where the majority of factors show little variation but one particular factor shows significant variation that the proxy relationship for that factor can be determined. On theoretical grounds, the reliability of using foraminiferal abundance as a proxy of a selected environmental factor should be restricted to the range close to the upper and lower thresholds. For oxygen, foraminifera are potential proxies for the lower limits but once oxygen levels rise to values of perhaps >1 or 2 ml l-1, there is no longer a relationship between oxygen levels and abundance. By contrast, the flux of organic matter over a large range shows a sufficiently close relationship with foraminiferal assemblages so that transfer functions can be derived for the deep sea. However, the relationship at species level is far less clear cut. Much more accurate estimates of primary productivity and modern organic flux rates are required to improve the determination of past flux rates.

PDF PROXIESrev.pdf - Other
Download (186kB)
Rich Text (RTF) PROXIESrev.rtf - Other
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (96kB)

More information

Published date: 2001
Keywords: benthic foraminifera, niche, proxies, organic carbon flux, oxygen


Local EPrints ID: 382
ISSN: 0377-8398
PURE UUID: 869a4879-d84a-40aa-9ed7-45265d06648b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Mar 2004
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:17

Export record



Author: J.W. Murray

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.