Abundance of benthic foraminifera in late Paleocene to eraly Pliocene sediments of DSDP Hole 74-525A on the Walvis Ridge, South Atlantic (Table 1)
Benthic forammifers in the size-fraction greater than 0.073 mm were studied in 88 Paleocene to Pleistocene samples from Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 525 (Hole 525A, Walvis Ridge, eastern south Atlantic). Clustering of the samples on the basis of the 86 most abundant foramimfers (in total, 331 taxa were identified) allowed separating two major assemblage zones: the Paleocene to Eocene interval, and the Oligocene to Pleistocene interval. Each of these, in turn, were subdivided into three minor subzones as follows: lower upper Paleocene (approx. 62.4 to 57 8 Ma); upper upper Paleocene (56.6 to 56 2 Ma), lower and middle Eocene (55.3 to 46 8 Ma); upper Oligocene to middle Miocene (25.3 to 16 Ma), middle Miocene to Pliocene (15.7 to 4.2 Ma), and lower Pleistocene (0.4 to 0.02 Ma), with only minor differences with the previous zone. Some very abundant taxa span most of the column studies (Bolivina huneri, Cassidulina subglobosa, Eponides bradyi, E. weddellensis, Gavelinella micra, Oridorsalis umbonatus, etc.). Several of the faunal breaks recorded coincide with conspicuous minima in the specific diversity curve, thus suggesting that the corresponding turnovers signal the final stages of periods of faunal impoverishment. At least one major bottomwater temperature drop (as derived from delta18O data) is synchronous with a decrease in the forammiferal specific diversity. On the other hand, a specific diversity maximum in the middle Miocene might be associated with a delta13C increase at approx 16 to 12 Ma. Highest foraminiferal abundances (up to 600-800 individuals per gram of dry sediment) occurred in the late Paleocene and in the early Pleistocene, in coincidence with the lowest diversity figures calculated. The magnitude of the most important faunal turnover recorded, between the middle Eocene and the late Oligocene, is magnified in our data set by the large hiatus which separates the middle Eocene from the upper Oligocene sediments. Considerably smaller overturns occurred within the late Paleocene (in coincidence with changes in the specific diversity, absolute abundance of forammiferal tests, and delta13C), and in the middle Miocene (in coincidence with a specific diversity maximum and a delta13C excursion). New reformation on the morphology and the stratigraphic ranges of several species is furnished. For all the taxa recorded the number of occurrences, total number of individuals identified and first and last appearances are listed.