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Foraminifera from cold-water coral ecosystems: The Mediterranean connections

English title Foraminifera from cold-water coral ecosystems: The Mediterranean connections
Applicant Spezzaferri Silvia
Number 131829
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Département des Géosciences Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Palaeontology
Start/End 01.04.2011 - 31.03.2014
Approved amount 259'336.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Palaeontology
Geochemistry
Geology
Oceanography

Keywords (6)

Paleoceanography; Foraminifera; Environmental changes; Cold-water corals ecosystems; Bioindicators; Alboran-Cadiz system

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The discovery of carbonate mounds and cold-water coral reef ecosystems (CCEs) along the European margin and in the Mediterranean Sea is a recent achievement. These discoveries have added new dimensions to the concept of carbonate factories and their importance in the geologic record. The scientific community identified the study of different micro/organism (such as foraminifera) in CCEs as a research challenge to better understand the formation of large CCEs, their biodiversity and their reaction to oceanographic and climate changes. In 2002 cold-water coral mounds were discovered in water depths of 500-600 m in the Gulf of Cadiz. The sediments contain alternating cold water coral-enriched and -depleted layers, showing striking similarities with the modern CCEs from the North Atlantic margin. Similar features discovered in the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean) opened a new research round of CCEs. Three SNSF projects granted to the proponent and focused on planktonic and benthic foraminifera provided the knowledge on modern assemblages to understand the dynamics of the fossil counterparts. It is now timely to investigate the foraminiferal fossil records of the CCEs to unravel their ecological importance in the past. We propose a high-resolution study of the ESF-EuroDiversity-MiCROSYSTEM Cores MD08-3227 and MD08-3216G recovered in the Gulf of Cadiz and spanning the upper 30 meters of sediments. We propose a cruise in the Alboran Sea to obtain a similar record. We will use quantitative data of benthic and planktonic foraminifera their isotopic signature and the chemistry of the sediments to intepret paleoenvironmental changes in the buried CCEs from the Gulf of Cadiz-Alboran Sea in the time frame provided by AMS14C dating and bio- and isotope- stratigraphy. The research will benefit of international collaboration (e.g., Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG)-Ghent), which provide complementary equipments and training of the PhD student on newly developed techniques. Our aim is to obtain a multiproxy paleoceanographic as follows: Reconstruction of the history of the western Mediterranean connection (Alboran-Cadiz system), CCE development in the last 150.000 years, and their relation to ecological, oceanographic and climate changes. Identification of regional and local factors determining similarities and differences between the Alboran Sea and the Gulf of Cadiz. Establishment of a causal link between CCE carbonate mounds and adjacent sediments. Testing the hypothesis of the Alboran-Cadiz gateway as an associated system also in recent times
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Late Weichselian deglaciation and early Holocene development of a cold-water coral reef along the Lopphavet shelf (Northern Norway) recorded by benthic foraminifera and ostracoda
Stalder C., Spezzaferi S., Rüggeberg A., Pirkenseer C., Gennari G (2014), Late Weichselian deglaciation and early Holocene development of a cold-water coral reef along the Lopphavet shelf (Northern Norway) recorded by benthic foraminifera and ostracoda, in Deep Sea Research II, 99, 249-269.
Alboran Basin: implications for age variation of the source sediments and mud volcanic activity.
Gennari Giordana, Spezzaferri Silvia, Comas Maria Carmen, Rüggeberg Andres, Lopez-Rodriguez Carmina, Pinheiro Luis (2013), Alboran Basin: implications for age variation of the source sediments and mud volcanic activity., in Marine Geology, 339, 83-95.
BENTHIC FORAMINIFER ASSEMBLAGES FROM NORWEGIAN COLD-WATER CORAL REEFS
Spezzaferri Silvia, Ruggeberg Andres, Stalder Claudio, Margreth Stephan (2013), BENTHIC FORAMINIFER ASSEMBLAGES FROM NORWEGIAN COLD-WATER CORAL REEFS, in JOURNAL OF FORAMINIFERAL RESEARCH, 43(1), 21-39.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Aveiro Portugal (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Leuven Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Milano Bicocca Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
University of Granada Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
GEOMAR-Kiel Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Ghent University Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Cork Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
SwissSed Meeting 2014 Poster Benthic foraminifera reveal ecological requirements of cold-water corals (Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa). 22.02.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
International Symposium on Foraminifera (Forams 2014), Poster Benthic Foraminifera associated with a cold-water coral (CWC) ecosystem in the Melilla Mounds field, Western Mediterranean Sea. 19.01.2014 Concepcion, Chile Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
International Symposium on Foraminifera (Forams 2014), Talk given at a conference Benthic foraminifera from cold-water coral reefs 19.01.2014 Concepcion, Chile Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;
International Symposium on Foraminifera (Forams 2014) Talk given at a conference The FOBIMO (FOraminiferal BIo-Monitoring) Initiative – a protocol for benthic foraminifera monitoring studies. 19.01.2014 Concepcion, Chile Spezzaferri Silvia;
International Symposium on Foraminifera (Forams 2014) Talk given at a conference Early Holocene cold-water coral (CWC) development in Northern Norway recorded by benthic Foraminifera, Ostracoda and sedimentary phosphorus. 19.01.2014 Concepcion, Chile Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting (SGM), Poster oenvironmental reconstruction based on foraminiferal assemblages and the sedimentary phosphorus record in the Oligocene of Romania (Transylvanian Basin). 15.11.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;
COCARDE Workshop and Field seminar Talk given at a conference Pioneer carbonate systems: bridging offshore and on-land research on carbonate mounds 22.09.2013 Catania, Italy Spezzaferri Silvia;
COCARDE Workshop and Field seminar Talk given at a conference COCARDE -ICA and -ERN – A global network to study the “rocks of life 22.09.2013 Catania, Italy Spezzaferri Silvia;
COCARDE Workshop and Fieldseminar Poster spatial and temporal patterns and control on cold-water coral reef development: The Moira Mounds, Porcupine Seabight, Offshore Ireland 22.09.2013 Catania, Italy Spezzaferri Silvia;
International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP XI), Poster Early CWC growth in Lopphavet after the last deglaciation: evidence from sedimentary phosphorus, organic matter and foraminifera 01.09.2013 Barcelona, Spain Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;
International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP XI) Poster Early CWC growth in Lopphavet after the last deglaciation: evidence from sedimentary phosphorus, organic matter and foraminifera. 01.09.2013 Barcellona, Spain Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU2013), Poster Cold water ecosystems from the Moira Mounds (Ne Atlantic): The RV Belgica Eurofleets CWC-Moira Cruise. 08.04.2013 Vienna , Austria Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;
SwissSed 2013 Talk given at a conference . Cold-water coral ecosystems from the Moira Mounds (NE Atlantic): the RV Belgica EUROFLEETS – CWC Moira cruise 22.02.2013 Fribourg, Switzerland Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;
Foraminiferal Biomonitoring (FOBIMO) Workshop (Swiss NSF International Exploratory Workshop) Talk given at a conference Bioindicator species for the tropical environment 31.08.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Spezzaferri Silvia;
34th International Geological Congress Talk given at a conference COCARDE: new view on old mounds – an international network of carbonate mound research 05.08.2012 Brisbane, Australia Spezzaferri Silvia;
TMS Foram-Nannofossil Group Talk given at a conference The Helgoland Experiment - assessing the influence of methodologies on Recent benthic foraminiferal assemblage composition 21.07.2012 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Spezzaferri Silvia;
5th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals 2012 Talk given at a conference Benthic foraminifera associated to a cold-water coral reef from Lopphavet, Northern Norway. 07.04.2012 Amsterdam, Netherlands Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
Swiss Sed 2012 Poster Cold-water coral ecosystems from the Moira Mounds (NE Atlantic): the RV Belgica EUROFLEETS – CWC Moira cruise 25.02.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
SwissSed 2012 Talk given at a conference Cold-water coral reef from Lopphavet (Northern Norway): what benthic foraminifera can tell us about their developments? 25.02.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Spezzaferri Silvia; Stalder Claudio;
COCARDE Workshop and field excursion Talk given at a conference Foraminifera as relevant components of Recent and sub-Recent carbonate mounds. 23.10.2011 Rabat, Morocco, Morocco Stalder Claudio; Spezzaferri Silvia;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Des micro-organismes marins qui valent un prix La Liberté Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Foraminiferen-Forschung gewinnt P Press release Université Fribourg Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Freiburger Forscher erhält einen Preis aus den US Freiburger Nachtrichten German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Korallen-Forscher mit Preis geehrt 20 minuten German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Une place au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO Universitas Western Switzerland 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Le role climatique des coreaux d’eau froide La Liberté Western Switzerland 2012
Media relations: radio, television Les ecosystems à coreaux d’eau froides. La croisière océanographique Eurofleets CWC-Moira (Porcupine Le site de la Radio Télevision Belge Francophone (RTBF). International 2012
Media relations: print media, online media The Belgica will be... Swiss next week! Press release International 2012
Media relations: print media, online media La recherche, toutes voiles dehors Unireflects Western Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Un laboratoire à l’autre bout du monde La Liberté Western Switzerland 2011

Awards

Title Year
The Johanna Resig Cushman Foundation Award for Foramniferal Research. The price of 12500 USD was awarded to Claudio Stalder for the research in benthic foraminifera from cold-water coral ecosystems in the group of Micropaleontology of S. Spezzaferri 2014
ESF Award to participate to the COCARDE Workshop and Field excursion in Rabat, Morocco. Grant to pay for flight and accomodation 1180 CHF. 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
150731 Laboratory multi-scale nano-CT scanner for 3D visualization and 4D experimentation in Earth and Material Sciences 01.05.2014 R'EQUIP
153125 Faunal assemblages from active, declining and buried cold-water coral ecosystems. 01.04.2014 Project funding
153125 Faunal assemblages from active, declining and buried cold-water coral ecosystems. 01.04.2014 Project funding
117928 Foraminifera as paleoenvironmental tracers 01.10.2007 Project funding
126367 The Mediterranean Connections 01.11.2009 Project funding
117928 Foraminifera as paleoenvironmental tracers 01.10.2007 Project funding
149247 4D-DIAGENESIS@MOUND: Understanding the temporal and spatial variability of early diagenesis in carbonate mounds 01.01.2014 Project funding
147139 Swiss participation in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) through membership in the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) 01.01.2014 Research Infrastructure

Abstract

The discovery of recent carbonate mounds and cold-water coral reef ecosystems (CCEs) along the European and African margins and in the Mediterranean Sea is a major achievement of the last decade. These discoveries have added a new dimension to the concept of carbonate factories and their widespread occurrence presents a challenge to understand their development and preservation and possible importance in the geologic record.Research of CCEs is still at an early stage and their role in the global carbon cycle is still poorly known. At several meetings (e.g., ESF-Magellan Workshops) the scientific community identified the study of different micro/organisms (such as foraminifera) in these coral geo-ecosystems as one of the most prominent research challenges to be addressed to better understand the formation of large CCEs, the maintenance of their biodiversity and their reaction to oceanographic and climate changes.In 2002 cold-water coral mounds were discovered in water depths of 500-600 m in the Gulf of Cadiz on the Pen Duick Escarpment. The sediments contain alternating cold water coral-enriched and -depleted layers, showing striking similarities with the modern CCEs from the North Atlantic margin. In 2007 similar features discovered in the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean) opened a new research round of CCEs. The SNSF project 200020-117928 provided the background knowledge on North Atlantic modern planktonic and benthic foraminiferal assemblages from CCEs to understand the dynamics of the fossil counterparts. SNSF Projects 200021-11694 and 200020-126367 provided the view of the Eastern Mediterranean connections. Based on the obtained results the present proposal merges the previous projects. It is now timely to investigate the foraminiferal fossil records of the CCEs to unravel their ecological importance in the past.Proposed is a high-resolution study of the ESF-EuroDiversity-MiCROSYSTEM Cores MD08-3227 and MD08-3216G recovered on the Pen-Duick Escarpment in July 2008 and spanning the upper 30 meters of sediments. For comparison, for ship time is asked in a joint venture with the Universities of Granada (Spain) and Aveiro (Portugal) to obtain a similar record from the CCEs in the Alboran Sea. Preliminary gravity cores were taken in 2008 during the cruise TTR17. They contain Holocene sediments only, the proposed cruise will retrieve the full Pleistocene sequence.The response of benthic and planktonic foraminifera to paleoenvironmental changes based on the isotopic signature of foraminiferal tests and the chemistry of the sediments (e.g., phosphorus and organic carbon) in the buried CCEs from the Gulf of Cadiz and the Alboran Sea will be interpreted in the time frame provided by AMS14C dating and bio- and isotope- stratigraphy. The research will be done in collaboration with leading European institutions such as the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)-Texel and the Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG)-Ghent, which will provide complementary equipments and training of the PhD student on newly developed techniques, e.g., the TEX86 molecular paleotemperature proxy and the BIT-Index for flux of organic matter.The aim of this project is to obtain a multiproxy paleoceanographic scenario by achieving the following objectives:Reconstruction of the history of the western Mediterranean connection (Alboran-Cadiz system), CCE development in the last 150.000 years, and the relation to ecological, oceanographic and climate changes.Identification of regional and local factors determining similarities and differences between the Alboran Sea and the Gulf of Cadiz.Establishment of a causal link between CCEs and adjacent sediments. Testing the hypothesis of the Alboran-Cadiz gateway as an associated system also in recent times.This project also benefits of the collaboration of all members of the COCARDE Initiative aimed to foster the transfer of knowledge from university laboratories to industry and vice-versa and to encourage and stimulate the interest of the young generation to study cold-water carbonates.Dissemination plan: Within the project we plan to present our results to many local and international meetings, to submit a significant number of scientific publications to peer reviewed journals, and to collaborate in the compilation of Special Volumes and Books together with our collaborators and colleagues.
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