Abstract

During the last glacial phase the Black Sea basin was isolated from the world's oceans due to the lowering of global sea-levels. As sea-levels rose during the latest glacial and early Holocene period, the Black Sea was once again connected to the eastern Mediterranean via the Dardanelles–Marmara–Bosporus seaway. In recent years, trace element and stable isotope analyses of ostracod assemblages have yielded important details regarding the hydrological evolution of the Black Sea during these events. Despite this focus on the geochemical signatures of the ostracods, little if any attention has been paid to the taxonomic composition of the ostracod assemblages themselves and there are notably few publications on the sub-littoral fauna of this important water body. We present a summary of the most abundant ostracod taxa of the Black Sea during the late glacial to early Holocene phase (dominated by the Candonidae, Leptocytheridae and Loxoconchidae) and chart their response to the subsequent environmental changes in the early Holocene with the pre-connection, low salinity ‘lacustrine’ fauna being replaced by one with a more Mediterranean aspect. Many of these taxa are illustrated using SEM for the first time, providing an important initial step in establishing taxonomic stability within Black Sea ostracod studies and noting faunal similarities with neighbouring areas, such as the Caspian Sea.

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