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Benthic foraminiferal variability on a monthly scale in a subtropical bay moderately affected by urban sewage
Leticia Burone, Paulo Valente, Ana Maria S. Pires-Vanin, Silvia Helena de Mello e Sousa, Michel M. Mahiques and Elisabete Braga

Benthic foraminifera were sampled monthly during a one-year period in order to examine their biological response to the environmental factors in the Ubatuba Bay (northern coast of São Paulo State, Brazil). The area is a popular tourist destination with a population that varies during the year, as does the untreated sewage carried into the bay by the rivers. Four sites were analysed. Each station is near one of the rivers that discharge into the bay. Biological data were analysed with multivariate and univariate techniques. The influence of the abiotic parameters on the foraminiferal fauna was inferred through statistical methods and time correlation functions. Geochemical and populational parameter differences allowed the sites to be separated into two groups according to their stress conditions. One group was dominated by Ammonia tepida—a herbivore species—and showed higher densities indicating a more productive and less contaminated location. The other one was dominated by Buliminella elegantissima—a detritivore species. Species diversity did not seem to be a good indicator of environmental health in this area due to the low densities and the high dominance of few species. Nevertheless, density and richness were used as evidence of local productivity and environmental conditions. Quasi-azoic moments related to the high degree of contamination were observed. Anthropogenic effects were stronger in the austral summer period, when sewage input through the rivers increases due to mass tourism.

Keywords: benthic foraminifera, time series, environmental quality, monthly scale, organic pollution, Ubatuba, Brazil.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 71(4) : 775-792 Back PDF
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