Abstract

We collected replicate samples at stations placed systematically along a transect at Oregon Inlet (North Carolina, USA) to investigate spatial homogeneity of dead assemblages of salt-marsh foraminifera. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to investigate the differences in mean proportions for six species (Miliammina fusca, Trochammina inflata, Arenoparrella mexicana, Tiphotrocha comprimata, Haplophragmoides wilberti and Jadammina macrescens) selected because of their importance in distinguishing assemblages across salt marshes in the study region. As expected, ANOVA’s on all species indicated significant differences among low-, middle-, and high-marsh zones defined by their flora. No significant differences were found between stations in the low- and high-marsh indicating homogeneity in these zones. In contrast, for all six species in the middle-marsh zone, significant outcomes for ANOVA, cluster analysis and post-hoc comparisons suggested that the middle-marsh should be divided into two zones. In addition, two species exhibited a patchy (inhomogeneous) distribution among all stations in the middle marsh. If confirmed by additional studies, our results indicate that sampling of modern salt-marshes to document the distribution of foraminifera for use in sea-level reconstructions should recognize the spatial variability associated with the middle-marsh floral zone.

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