Environmental quality assessment of Bizerte Lagoon (Tunisia) using living foraminifera assemblages and a multiproxy approach

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Abstract

© 2015 Alves Martins et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This study investigated the environmental quality of the Bizerte Lagoon (Tunisia) through an integrated approach that combined environmental, biogeochemical, and living benthic foraminiferal analyses. Specifically, we analyzed the physicochemical parameters of the water and sediment. The textural, mineralogical, and geochemical characteristics of the sediment, including total organic carbon, total nitrogen, simultaneously extracted metals (SEM), acid volatile sulfides (AVS), chlorophyll a, CaCO3, and changes in bacterial populations and carbon isotopes were measured. The SEM/AVS values indicated the presence of relatively high concentrations of toxic metals in only some areas. Foraminiferal assemblages were dominated by species such as A. parkinsoniana (20-91%), Bolivina striatula (<40%), Hopkinsina atlantica (<17%), and Bolivina ordinaria (<15%) that cannot be considered typical of impacted coastal lagoons both in Mediterranean and northeast Atlantic regions. The results of this work suggest that Bizerte Lagoon is a unique setting. This lagoon is populated by typical marine species that invaded this ecosystem, attracted not only by the prevailing favorable environmental conditions but also by the abundance and quality of food. The results indicate that the metal pollution found in some areas have a negative impact on the assemblages of foraminifera. At present, however, this negative impact is not highly alarming.

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Alves Martins, M. V., Zaaboub, N., Aleya, L., Frontalini, F., Pereira, E., Miranda, P., … El Bour, M. (2015). Environmental quality assessment of Bizerte Lagoon (Tunisia) using living foraminifera assemblages and a multiproxy approach. PLoS ONE, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137250

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