Foraminifera from the Fowey Estuary, Cornwall
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Foraminifera are described from the estuary of the Fowey River in South-East Cornwall. Part of the estuary has recently (November 2013) been designated as the 'Upper Fowey and Pont Pill' Marine Conservation Zone and this paper reports the first investigation of the foraminifera (marine and brackish water protists) that live in the area. Assemblages of foraminifera are described from the saltmarsh environments near Lostwithiel, at the head of the estuary, seawards to the sea grass meadows in Polruan Pool. The latter are outside the designated MCZ, though still represent an important marine habitat. The recorded foraminifera are typical of comparable communities along the South-West England coastline. The living foraminifera can be used to identify five assemblages, each with characteristic species. Each of these assemblages shows a close relationship with the salinity and temperature ranges experienced in the area. Deformed foraminifera have been recorded and may be related to the geochemistry of the sediments, which are mainly derived from the Fowey River catchment; an area that was extensively mined in the 19th Century.
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