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Z .Earth-Science Reviews 46 1999 167185 www.elsevier.comrlocaterearscirev

Summary: Z .Earth-Science Reviews 46 1999 167­185
Colonization of new habitats by benthic foraminifera: a review
Elisabeth Alve )
Department of Geology, UniÕersity of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
Colonization of new habitats, which have been established as a result of a catastrophic disturbance of the environment, is
one of the characteristic repetitive events throughout the Phanerozoic. In recent years, much attention has been paid to
investigations focusing on biological recovery of benthic habitats severely disturbed by human activity. In order to improve
our environmental and stratigraphical interpretations of such events, we need a more thorough understanding of the
processes involved in colonization by one of the most abundant and useful fossil groups, the benthic foraminifera. The
present review focuses on processes governing benthic foraminiferal dispersion and colonization patterns in modern
environments. For benthic foraminifera, the only active dispersal mechanism is through self-locomotion on or within the
sediment and this is considered to be efficient over short distances only. Several passive dispersal methods have been
suggested but two seem to be of more general importance. These are dispersal through release and transport of embryonic
juveniles and passive suspension and transport of various growth stages. Both are probably important for most benthic
foraminifera but the former is likely to be the main mechanism for attached, tubular and larger foraminifera, which are not
easily entrained at a later life stage. The latter seems to be a more important dispersion mechanism for benthic foraminifera
than previously realized. The colonization rate of soft-bottom substrates is closely related to the hydraulic regime in, and the
Ztransit time from, the source area inhabited by species capable of colonizing the new habitat as long as food and other


Source: Alve, Elisabeth - Department of Geosciences, Universitetet i Oslo


Collections: Geosciences