Abstract

Nearshore benthic foraminifera of the Farasan Islands (southern Red Sea) were investigated to highlight the faunal distributions and the controlling environmental factors. Forty-one sediment samples were collected in transects of four areas: Khor As Sailah, Ras Sheidah-Ras Abbrah, Jinabah Bay, and Ras Farasan. Cluster and canonical correspondence analyses were performed to determine if any groups of samples or species correlated with ambient environmental factors. Symbiont-bearing species (e.g., Peneroplis planatus, Sorites orbiculus, Neorotalia calcar, and Coscinospira hemprichii) dominate the hypersaline lagoon of Khor As Sailah, which is characterized by muddy sand, seagrasses, and green filamentous algae. Neorotalia calcar dominates the hard substrates with green filamentous algae in the nearshore area of Ras Sheidah-Ras Abbrah. Both Jinabah Bay and Ras Farasan have sandy substrates with assemblages dominated by Ammonia convexa, P. planatus, S. orbiculus, N. calcar, Varidentella neostriatula, Quinqueloculina sp., and Elphidium sp., and indications of shoreward transport.

Overall, foraminiferal density was highest (210–3930 specimens/g) in the Khor As Sailah lagoon and lowest (8–327 specimens/g) in the nearshore sediments of Jinabah Bay and Ras Farasan. Taphonomic effects were evident as dissolution and bioerosion in the calm waters of Khor As Sailah lagoon, and abrasion and breakage in the nearshore sediments of Jinabah Bay and Ras Farasan.

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