Indicative value of benthic foraminifera for biomonitoring: Assignment to ecological groups of sensitivity to total organic carbon of species from European intertidal areas and transitional waters

Mar Pollut Bull. 2021 Mar;164:112071. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112071. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


This work contributes to the ongoing work aiming at confirming benthic foraminifera as a biological quality element. In this study, benthic foraminifera from intertidal and transitional waters from the English Channel/European Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Sea were assigned to five ecological groups using the weighted-averaging optimum with respect to TOC of each species. It was however not possible to assign typical salt marsh species due to the presence of labile and refractory organic matter that hampers TOC characterization. Tests of this study species' lists with Foram-AMBI on two independent datasets showed a significant correlation between Foram-AMBI and TOC, confirming the strong relation between foraminifera and TOC. For one of the validation datasets, associated macrofaunal data were available and a significant correlation was found between the foraminiferal Foram-AMBI and the macrofaunal AMBI. The here proposed lists should be further tested with sensitivity-based indices in different European regional settings.

Keywords: Benthic foraminifera; English Channel; Environmental biomonitoring; European Atlantic coasts; Foram-AMBI; Mediterranean Sea; Total organic carbon; Transitional environments.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Monitoring
  • Carbon
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Foraminifera*
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Mediterranean Sea


  • Carbon