Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Potential use of the benthic foraminifers Bulimina denudata and Eggerelloides advenus in marine sediment toxicity testing

March 12, 2021

The benthic foraminifers Bulimina denudata and Eggerelloides advenus are commonly abundant in offshore regions in the Pacific Ocean, especially in waste-discharge sites. The relationship between their abundance and standard macrofaunal sediment toxicity tests (amphipod survival and sea urchin fertilization) as well as sediment chemistry analyte measurements were determined for sediments collected in 1997 in Santa Monica Bay, California, USA, an area impacted by historical sewage input from the Hyperion Outfall primarily since the late 1950s. Very few surface samples proved to be contaminated based on either toxicity or chemistry tests and the abundance of B. denudata did not correlate with any of these. The abundance of E. advenus also did not correlate with toxicity, but positively correlated with total solids and negatively correlated with arsenic, beryllium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc, iron, and TOC. In contrast, several downcore samples proved to be contaminated as indicated by both toxicity and chemistry data. The abundance of B. denudata positively correlated with amphipod survival and negatively correlated with arsenic, cadmium, unionized ammonia, and TOC; E. advenus negatively correlated with sea urchin fertilization success as well as beryllium, cadmium, and total PCBs. As B. denudata and E. advenus are tolerant of polluted sediments and their relative abundances appear to track those of macrofaunal toxicity tests, their use as cost- and time-effective marine sediment toxicity tests may have validity and should be further investigated.