Morphometry, biogeography and ecology of Calcidiscus and Umbilicosphaera in the South Atlantic

Karl Heinz Baumann*, Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero, Babette Böckel, Carola Ott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we present morphometrical evaluation, biogeographical distribution patterns and ecological information for five coccolithophore taxa (Calcidiscus leptoporus, C. leptoporus small, C. quadriperforatus, Umbilicosphaera foliosa and U. sibogae). This information is based on data obtained from surface sediments from the South Atlantic. The three Calcidiscus taxa can easily been distinguished by a combination of size and qualitative characters of their distal shields. Mostly encountered in the temperate to sub-polar regions C. leptoporus is the most abundant taxon and exhibits a negative correlation to temperature and salinity. Both, C. leptoporus small and C. quadriperforatus reach their maximum abundances also at higher latitudes and in the SW-African upwelling area. Their distributions therefore suggest preference for nutrient-enriched waters, which is also indicated by CCA. The two circular Umbilicosphaera species exhibit significant differences in coccolith morphology and show little overlap in size. Highest abundances are encountered in sub-tropical latitudes and are mainly derived from U. sibogae. In contrast, U. foliosa is present in very low abundances. Both species exhibit a preference for warm and oligotrophic conditions. However, U. foliosa increases in relative proportion to U. sibogae at the southernmost locations and in the Benguela upwelling. This could be interpreted as an affinity for slightly cooler and nutrient-enriched environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalRevue de Micropaléontologie
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcidiscus
  • Coccolithophore
  • Ecology
  • Morphometry
  • South Atlantic
  • Umbilicosphaera

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