Abstract

The aim of this study is to evaluate the relative influence of abiotic factors on the association and spatial distribution of recent benthic foraminiferal morphogroups in the Argentine continental shelf at ~40°S environments as a first step towards establishing their paleoecological significance. Foraminifera are classified into five morphogroups: tapered, elongate-flattened, milioline, planoconvex, and rounded-planispiral. Compositional data analysis techniques were used to define morphogroup assemblages, and Classification and Regression Tree Analysis was used to identify environmental variables. The distribution of the morphogroup assemblages were recognized was driven by complex interactions between environmental factors. The most important factor is temperature, although salinity, substrate grain size, and hydrodynamic energy also correlate with the distribution of morphogroups. The morphogroups analysis shows potential for determining present and past environments where the auto-ecology of the species is unknown or where there is doubt regarding their taxonomic classification.

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