Dinoflagellate cysts and benthic foraminifera from surface sediments of Svalbard fjords and shelves as paleoenvironmental indicators

Maciej M. Telesiński, Vera Pospelova, Kenneth Neil Mertens, Małgorzata Kucharska, Marek Zajączkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Due to the Arctic amplification effect, the Svalbard archipelago is an important area for studying ongoing environmental changes. However, its marine ecosystem is extremely complex. In this study, we analyze modern assemblages of dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) and benthic foraminifera from surface sediment samples around Svalbard. We use multivariate statistical analyses to examine relationships between environmental conditions (summer and winter sea surface temperature and salinity, sea-ice cover, etc.) and both microfossil groups to evaluate their use as proxies for reconstructions of the marine environment in the region. Our results show that the most important factor controlling the environment around Svalbard is the Atlantic Water which mostly impacts the western coast, but its influence reaches as far as the eastern coast of Nordaustlandet. However, on a local scale, such factors as the sea-ice cover, the presence of tidewater glaciers, or even the morphology and hydrology of fjords become increasingly important. We found that two dinocyst species, cysts of Polarella glacialis and Echinidinium karaense, can be considered regional winter drift ice indicators. The relationships between environmental parameters and benthic foraminiferal assemblages are much more difficult to interpret. Although statistical analysis shows a correlation of benthic foraminiferal species with various environmental parameters, this correlation might be somewhat coincidental and caused by other factors not analyzed in this study. Nevertheless, the use of two complementary microfossil groups as (paleo)environmental indicators can provide a more comprehensive picture of the environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-594
Number of pages24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Chlorophyll-a
  • Fjords
  • Nordic Seas
  • North Atlantic
  • Primary productivity
  • Sea ice
  • Sediments


Dive into the research topics of 'Dinoflagellate cysts and benthic foraminifera from surface sediments of Svalbard fjords and shelves as paleoenvironmental indicators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this