Shell Anomalies Observed in a Population of Archaias Angulatus (Foraminifera) from the Florida Keys (USA) Sampled in 1982-83 and 2006-07

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coral reef, deformity, dissolution

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Archived specimens of Archaias angulatus collected live at a depth of less than 2 m in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Florida, in June, September and December 1982, and March 1983, were compared to specimens collected live from the same site and months in 2006–07. Shells were examined using light microscopy for anomalous features, which were then documented using scanning electron microscopy. Seven different types of morphological abnormalities and five different surface texture anomalies were observed. Physical abnormalities included profoundly deformed, curled, asymmetrical, and uncoiled shells, irregular suture lines, surface protrusions, and breakage/repair. Textural anomalies observed were surface pits, dissolution features, microborings, microbial biofilms, and the presence of epibionts including bryzoans, cyanobacteria and foraminifers. The same kinds of features were found in this A. angulatus population in both 1982–83 collections and 2006–07 collections. Within-date variability was higher in specimens collected in 1982–83, while between-date variability was higher in 2006–07; overall the range of variability was similar. Given that the site was originally chosen for study because these foraminifers were so abundant, the lack of significant change indicates that the variability of the geochemical habitat is still within the range that A. angulatus can thrive.

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Marine Micropaleontology, v. 77, issue 1-2, p. 71-81