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ABSTRACT

The benthic foraminiferal assemblages from two shallow (<40 m), but oceanographically distinct, fjord settings from western Norway are discussed in terms of faunal changes along depth transects. At Syslakvåg, a restricted marine influence is reflected in the strong seasonal stratification of the water column and a threefold subdivision of the faunas is apparent, with the most marked faunal transition corresponding to the zone of steepest temperature-depth and salinity-depth gradients. Below 15 m the dominant taxa are Adercotryma glomerata, Buccella frigida and Elphidium albiumbilicatum, while the shallower stations are dominated by Eggerelloides scabrum, Elphidium williamsoni and Ammonia batavus. At Håvarden, an increasing “open” marine influence is observed, particularly below the surface waters, and a two-fold subdivision of the faunas is interpreted in response to these factors. The shallower stations are dominated by A. batavus, E. scabrum, E. williamsoni and Trochamminella bullata; these give way, at depths greater than 10 m, to assemblages dominated by Bulimina marginata, Cibicides lobatulus and Cassidulina laevigata.

The presence of taxa with Arctic affinities are discussed in the context of reworking of older Quaternary sediments and the dissolution of calcareous tests. It is suggested that the shallow, seasonally variable waters of Norwegian fjords may provide southern refugia for these taxa. Equally, species’ northern limits are discussed, particularly in the context of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions from documented last interglacial sites at Bø and Fjøsanger, both from western Norway.

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