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The distribution of living and total (dead + living) specimens of Elphidium excavatum f. clavatum was mapped in arctic seas, including the Barents Sea, Kara Sea and Svalbard fjords. Its distribution pattern is related to cold waters (< 1°C), turbid waters close to the terminus of glaciers, and shallow settings and low saline waters in high sediment accumulation areas. Consequently, E. excavatum f. clavatum is a sensitive indicator of a marked melt water event between 13,000 and 14,000 years B.P. which occurred on the Svalbard-Barents Sea margin. With an increase of temperature (10,000 years B.P.), E. excavatum f. clavatum migrated both northwards and eastward and into the fjords of Svalbard.

Reworking of E. excavatum f. clavatum from glaciomarine shelf sediments most probably explain its scattered distribution in the surface sediments from the shelf underlying temperature normal saline waters, high flux on the slope during the Holocene, and high percent frequencies on the continental slope during the last deglaciation.

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