Radiocarbon-age measurements on single species of foraminifera from a core on the Ceara Rise demonstrate the importance of the joint effect of bioturbation and variable rain abundance of foraminifera. The relatively high mixed layer ages for Pulleniatina obliquiloculata reflect, at least in part, an early Holocene peak in its abundance while the relatively young ages for Globorotalia menardii reflect the delay until mid Holocene of its reappearance in the Atlantic Ocean. These results clearly demonstrate that core-top sediment samples need not be representative foraminifera falling from today's surface ocean. Rather, at least on the Ceara Rise, such samples consist of a composite of changing species groupings. These results also reconfirm the pitfalls associated with attempts to reconstruct the radiocarbon age of deep ocean water on the basis of benthic-planktonic foraminiferal age differences.