Abstract

Salt-marsh foraminifera are used as precise sea-level change indicators as surface assemblages vary in relation to their position in the tidal frame. Surface-sediment samples were collected across an elevation gradient at Galpins salt marsh, South Africa, to study the vertical distribution of foraminifera and their potential use for sea-level studies. The marsh is divided into three vertical zones (high marsh, middle marsh, and mud flats) represented by three assemblage groups, with agglutinated species restricted to the upper reaches of the marsh and calcareous species more dominant towards the intertidal channel. The high marsh area is dominated by Jadammina macrescens with a presence of Trochammina inflata. The middle marsh is characterised by both T. inflata and Miliammina fusca. Calcareous species found in the mud flats consist of Haynesina germanica, Ammonia batava, and Quinqueloculina sp. This paper describes how marsh foraminifera can be used to define small-scale vertical zones along modern marsh surfaces and how these zones correspond to floral zones. We demonstrate that marsh foraminifera have potential to be used as precise indicators for sea-level reconstructions in South Africa.

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