Did Amphistegina lobifera Larsen reach the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal?
Yokeş, Mehmet Baki Aki
Kıyak, Nafiye Güneç
Öztürk, Muhammed Zeynel
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It has been accepted by many researchers that Amphistegina lobifera Larsen migrated to the Mediterranean Sea via Suez Canal like many other Indo-Pacific originated foraminifers and organisms. This idea was also supported in the studies performed on the Turkish Aegean and Mediterranean coast in the last ten years, due to the discovery of alien benthic foraminifers. However, during field research in the Akkuyu (Mersin) region, a rich benthic foraminifera assemblage was found in the sediment samples, in which Amphistegina lobifera Larsen was abundant. In the present study, when and how Amphistegina lobifera Larsen migrated to the Mediterranean was investigated.Most of the Amphistegina lobifera Larsen individuals observed are found to show similar morphological characteristics with recent samples collected from Turkish coastline, which at first indicated that the individuals from Akkuyu might also be of Holocene age, but the OSL method produced dates of 227.3 ± 17.8, 87.7 ± 9.6 and 6.0 ± 0.6 ka. These ages are Middle Pleistocene, Late Pleistocene and Holocene. In one sample, aged 427.5 ± 29.4 ka, Spiroloculina antillarum d'Orbigny, which was suggested to be introduced to Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, was found together with Articulina carinata Wiesner. The presence of Spiroloculina antillarum d'Orbigny with Amphistegina lobifera Larsen together with in an other sample, aged 227.3 ± 17.8 ka, indicates that these foraminifers have been introduced to the Mediterranean in Middle Pleistocene and they might have been living in the Eastern Mediterranean since then. As a result, these age data show that Amphistegina lobifera Larsen individuals did not migrate to the eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal which was opened in 1869, but much earlier than that via a different natural water way connecting Indo-Pacific to the Eastern Mediterranean.