Coccolith distribution patterns in surface sediments of Equatorial and Southeastern Pacific Ocean

Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero, José Abel Flores, Karl Heinz Baumann, Francisco Javier Sierro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to contribute to a more detailed knowledge of the biogeography of coccolithophores in the Equatorial and Southeastern Pacific Ocean. Census data of fossil coccoliths are presented in a suite of core-top sediment samples from 15°N to 50.6°S and from 71°W to 93°W. Following standard preparation of smear slides, a total of 19 taxa are recognized in light microscopy and their relative abundances are determined for 134 surface sediment samples. Considering the multivariate character of oceanic conditions and their effects on phytoplankton, a Factor Analysis was performed and three factors were retained. Factor 1, dominated by Florisphaera profunda and Gephyrocapsa oceanica, includes samples located under warm water masses and indicates the occurrence of calcite dissolution in the water column in the area offshore Chile. Factor 2 is related to cold, low-salinity surface-water masses from the Chilean upwelling, and is dominated by Emiliania huxleyi, Gephyrocapsa sp. < 3 μm, Coccolithus pelagicus and Gephyrocapsa muellerae. Factor 3 is linked to more saline, coastal upwelling areas where Calcidiscus leptoporus and Helicosphaera carteri are the dominant species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2010


  • biogeography
  • Coccolithophores
  • equatorial and Southeastern Pacific
  • surface sediment samples

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