The vertical distribution of living (Rose Bengal stained) benthic foraminifers was determined in the upper 15 cm of sediment cores taken along transects extending from the continental shelf of Spitsbergen through the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean. Cores taken by a multiple corer were raised from 50 stations with water depths between 94 and 4427 m, from areas with moderate primary production values to areas that are among the least productive ones in the world. We believe, that in the Arctic Ocean the vertical distribution of living foraminifers is determined by the restricted availability of food. Live foraminiferal faunas are dominated by potentially infaunal species or epifaunal species. Species confined to the infaunal microhabitat are absent in Arctic sediments that we examined, and predominantly infaunal living species are nowhere dominant. In general, an infaunal mode of life is restricted to the seasonally ice-free areas and thus to areas with at least moderate primary production during the summer period. Under the permanent ice cover living species are usually restricted to the top centimeter of the sediment surface, even though some are able to dwell deeper in the sediment under ice-free conditions.

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