Assessment of benthic foraminifera as environmental proxy in the Arctic region
What are the long term oceanographic changes of Arctic fjord and shelf environments? In order to answer this important question this project aims to significantly advance benthic foraminifera as proxy indicators of modern and past environments in the fjords and shelves of Svalbard, the Barents Sea and Northern Norway. This goal will be obtained by using a combination of new innovative and well established methodologies, including seasonal to annual sampling of surface sediments using ice strengthened research vessels. We aim to advance the knowledge of benthic foraminiferal ecology by quantifying their response to environmental forcing by: 1) Studying living benthic foraminiferal fauna composition and their stable oxygen and carbon isotopic ratios and Mg/Ca ratios. 2) Calibrate these data with oceanographic and environmental parameters, 3) Provide insight into the microhabitats of living foraminifera and their relationship with micro-environments and their translation to the dead assemblage 4) Develop local transfer functions linking the faunal data to the various environmental parameters, 5) Apply our new developed proxy methods in sediment cores in order to reconstruct past environmental changes during the last millennium based on high resolution sediment cores.