Faculté des sciences et de médecine

Distribution of benthic foraminiferal assemblages in the transitional environment of the Djerba lagoon (Tunisia)

Kateb, Akram El ; Stalder, Claudio ; Neururer, Christoph ; Fentimen, Robin ; Spangenberg, Jorge E. ; Spezzaferri, Silvia

In: Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 2018, vol. 111, no. 3, p. 589–606

The eastern edge of the Djerba Island represents an important tourist pole. However, studies describing the environmental processes affecting this Island are scarce. Although never studied before, the peculiar Djerba lagoon is well known by the local population and by tourists. In July 2014, surface sediment and seawater samples were collected in this lagoon to measure grain size, organic... More

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    Summary
    The eastern edge of the Djerba Island represents an important tourist pole. However, studies describing the environmental processes affecting this Island are scarce. Although never studied before, the peculiar Djerba lagoon is well known by the local population and by tourists. In July 2014, surface sediment and seawater samples were collected in this lagoon to measure grain size, organic matter content and living foraminiferal assemblages to describe environmental conditions. Seawater samples were also collected and the concentration of 17 chemical elements were measured by ICP-OES. The results show that a salinity gradient along the studied transect clearly impacts seagrass distribution, creating different environmental conditions inside the Djerba lagoon. Biotic and abiotic parameters reflect a transitional environment from hypersaline to normal marine conditions. Living benthic foraminifera show an adaptation to changing conditions within the different parts of the lagoon. In particular, the presence of Ammonia spp. and Haynesina depressula correlates with hypersaline waters, whilst Brizalina striatula characterizes the parts of the lagoon colonized by seagrass. Epifaunal species, such as Rosalina vilardeboana and Amphistegina spp. colonize hard substrata present at the transition between the lagoon and the open sea.