Calcareous foraminifers and hydrographic parameters in 113 bottom samples from the southern Kara Sea were examined to improve the usage of foraminifers as paleoenvironmental proxies for river-dominated high-latitude continental shelves. Foraminiferal taxa form a succession from near-estuarine to distal open-sea locations, characterized by a gradual increase in salinities. Foraminiferal assemblages are discriminated into three groups: river-proximal, -intermediate, and -distal. This succession appears to be controlled by a combination of feeding conditions and bottom salinities, and are related to riverine fluxes of freshwater, organic matter, and sediments. Morphological and behavioral adaptations of foraminifers to specific environments are discussed.