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Benthic foraminifera in a deep-sea high-energy environment: the Moira Mounds (Porcupine Seabight, SW of Ireland)

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Fentimen Robin, Rüggeberg Andres, Lim Aaron, Kateb Akram El, Foubert Anneleen, Wheeler Andrew J., Spezzaferri Silvia,
Project Unconventional carbonate factories in the Eastern Mediterranean: cold water coral ecosystems and seeps
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Swiss Journal of Geosciences
Volume (Issue) 111(3)
Page(s) 533 - 544
Title of proceedings Swiss Journal of Geosciences
DOI 10.1007/s00015-018-0317-4

Open Access


Cold-water coral ecosystems represent unique and exceptionally diverse environments in the deep-sea. They are well developed along the Irish margin, varying broadly in shape and size. The Moira Mounds, numerous small-sized mounds, are nestled in the Belgica Mound Province (Porcupine Seabight, North-East Atlantic). The investigation of living (Rose Bengal stained) and dead benthic foraminiferal assemblages from these mounds allowed to describe their distribution patterns and to evaluate their response to environmental variability. Quantitative data was statistically treated to define groups of species/genera associated to specific habitats. The Moira Mounds differ from their larger neighbours by the reduced spatial variability of benthic foraminiferal assemblages, living assemblages only distinguishing coral-rich and coral-barren areas. The ecological needs of corals are highlighted by the abundance of Alabaminella weddellensis and Nonionella iridea, phytodetritus-feeding species in coral supporting sediments. Living foraminifera in sediments from the Moira Mounds concentrate in the upper first centimetre. Infaunal species may be affected by bioturbation and/or reworking by the strong currents in the area. Dead foraminiferal assemblages from the Moira Mounds resemble those described for the sandwave facies in adjacent giant mounds, suggesting similar processes in facies deposition.