After several years of research, the foraminiferal fauna of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) has become themost studied fiord in West Antarctica with respect to foraminifera. As such, it provides actualistic data for better understanding of paleoenvironmental records from this dynamically changing area. Over a few years, the bay was systematically sampled down to 520 m water depth, for multi−chambered and mono− thalamous benthic foraminifera, including soft−walled allogromiids often overlooked in for− mer studies. Altogether, 138 taxa were identified, and three new taxa described. This paper aims to integrate these results, put them into a broader perspective, and supplement them with information that was not presented to date. Most notably, a record of the vertical distribution of Rose Bengal stained foraminifera below the sediment surface and the proportions of soft and robustly−testate forms at different sites are described.
Twenty one core tops from the central part of Pine Island Bay and nearby Ferrero Bay were collected in early 2010. They originate from a poorly studied area of the Amundsen Sea influenced at greater depths by relatively warm Circumpolar Deep Water. Almost all samples came from water−depths between 550 and 900 m and yield benthic foraminiferal assemblages of moderate variability with a significant decrease in calcareous forms with increasing water−depth. In total, 93 benthic taxa, belonging to 71 genera, are identified at the species level. They share a greater percentage of common species with the Ross Sea than with South Shetland Islands, most likely due to stronger climatic dissimilarity with the latter. Interestingly, the assemblages from Pine Island Bay, share the greatest numbers of taxa with assemblages described from Lützow−Holm Bay in East Antarctica, where the influence of Circumpolar Deep Water has been also recognized.
The calcareous microfossil assemblage from Middle Miocene strata of SHALDRIL Site NBP0602A−5D consists of bent hic foraminifera, ostracods, bivalves, and gastropods, and is interpreted as shallow−water. It appears to be reworked but its age is probably similar to the age of the host sediment, which contains only rare, fragmented, agglutinated foraminifera. Most of the calcareous taxa are of uncertain taxonomic affiliation, due to the scarcity of Cenozoic microfossils of this age from West Antarctica, and also the very different paleohabitat of this now extinct assemblage.