SOURCE: http://www.FORAMS2010.uni-bonn.de/sites/sessions/B1.php
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Session Session Title Convenor(s)
B1 Foraminifera as bio-indicators of anthropogenetic impact
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Summary

The marine environment is increasingly subject to anthropogenic impact. Due to the expansion of human activities into offshore areas (e.g., fisheries, oil and gas production, manganese nodule mining), this phenomenon is no longer restricted to the coastal zone, but today also concerns offshore areas. Anthropogenic impact may be due to the introduction of nutrients and/or pollutants, to physical disturbance, or to phenomena related to increasing atmospheric CO2 contents, such as global warming or ocean acidification. At present, there is a strongly increased need for monitoring the ecosystem response to these different types of disturbance. Because of their high standing stocks and biodiversity, and their high sensitivity to various environmental parameters, foraminifera are increasingly used as bio-indicators of anthropogenic impact. Compared to other organisms used for bio-monitoring, foraminifera have the unique quality that they leave a fossil record, which can be used to reconstruct in situ pre-impacted baseline conditions. Whereas biotic indices have been developed for the traditionally used macrofaunal organisms, and monitoring procedures have been formalised, such an effort has not yet been made for foraminifera. Consequently, many different methods have been used to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic activities on the foraminiferal faunas. Papers on the use of benthic foraminifera in environmental impact studies often insist on their efficiency without providing convincing evidence. We think that more concrete knowledge of the various disturbing processes and the biological response mechanisms is needed. A better mechanistical understanding of the quantitative relationships between environmental forcing and foraminiferal responses will allow us to promote the use of foraminifera in environmental monitoring to decision-makers and governmental bodies. The aim of this workshop is to make an inventory of the various methods used for bio-monitoring with foraminifera, to critically evaluate the validity of these methods, and, if possible, to identify the most promising pathways leading to a future standardisation of bio-indication methods based on foraminifera.
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