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Open-File Report 2009–1293

Seasonal Flux and Assemblage Composition of Planktic Foraminifera from the Northern Gulf of Mexico

By Kathy A. Tedesco, Jessica W. Spear, Eric Tappa, and Richard Z. Poore


A year-long sediment-trap experiment was conducted in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) between January and December 2008 to study the flux and assemblage composition of planktic foraminifera from the region for comparison with concurrent hydrographic and climatic measurements. Ten species, or varieties, of planktic foraminifera constitute >80 percent of the assemblage: Globigerinoides ruber (pink and white varieties), Gs. sacculifer, Globigerina calida, Globigerinella aequilateralis, Globorotalia menardii group, Gt. crassaformis, Gt. truncatulinoides, Pulleniatina spp., and Neogloboquadrina dutertrei. The mean daily flux is about 200 tests per meter square per day (m-2 day-1) with the maximum fluxes of >600 tests m-2 day-1 occurring during October–March and minimum fluxes of <30 tests m-2 day-1 during April–June. The annual flux is weighted toward October–March; approximately 73.2 percent of the total annual flux is produced during this period, while the April–June and July–September fluxes make up 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively. During 2008, Gs. ruber (white) contributed ~1.5 percent to the total annual flux and averaged 4.5 percent during April–September, the period of highest fluxes for this species. Results from previous work in the GOM show Gs. ruber (white) contributing 20-30 percent of the late Holocene sediment record.

First posted January 7, 2010

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Suggested citation:

Tedesco, K.A., Spear, J.W., Tappa, Eric, and Poore, R.Z., 2009, Seasonal flux and assemblage composition of planktic foraminifera from the northern Gulf of Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1293, 19 p.




Regional Setting

Materials and Methods

Results and Discussion

Climatology and Hydrography

Planktic Foraminifera Flux and Assemblage Composition



References Cited

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